As writers, we don't want bad ideas. We're always searching for that elusive good idea. Whether it be a solution to a plotting issue, or the premise of the next international bestseller. And it's absofabulonderful (yes, I make up my own words) when those genius ideas come to us all on their own.
But most of the time we have to seek them out. Search for them. Expend a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and maybe even sleep and food and sanity to get them.
And in my experience, I've found that the best way to get to something good is to consider a whole lot of something bad.
Anyone who's ever
Because when you have to think about why an idea won't work, it usually makes it easier to figure out what will work. The more you come up with reasons why a suggestion doesn't fit with your characters or your plot or you just hate hate hate it, the more you start to narrow down what you're actually looking for. And once you have that direction, you can almost always follow it to a solution that actually works.
It works for me anyway. So far I've never had a brainstorming session end without us having come up with a real, working plan. Bonus: we have a lot of fun laughing at and rejecting all the atrocious ideas we've put on the table.
So I say embrace bad ideas! Don't write them, of course--that would be shudderworthy. But don't be afraid to throw them out there and think about them. Because you never know when something bad will lead to something good.
And who knows? Maybe the next international bestseller will be that ninja-zombie-unicorn book you realized you just had to write. Hey, it could happen. I bet no one would've thought sparkly vampires would be a phenomenon ten years ago. ;)
What about you guys? How do you come up with your ideas?