In Search of Ideas


Writing requires ideas. The idea might even be the most important component of a story of novel, so finding good ideas is critical. But where do they come from? At Beyond the Margins, Robin Antalek examines where she finds fresh ideas:

I am not a journal keeper – but I am a huge fan of the clipping. I save articles, images, and obituaries that have caught my interest. Obituaries in particular are often brilliant little capsules of a life, leading to more questions than answers, a writer’s dream. If I am in a particularly organized mood I might tape the clippings to a page with a few questions or thoughts scribbled below. When I’m stuck, I often return to these ragtag files for a spark of something, anything that might lead to the magical first sentence.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →