Stephen Gallagher has written an interesting blog about the differences between UK and US productions. One particular comment struck me:
"So from my ever-ready stock of ideas I pitch them five or six springboards."
I realised I haven't actually got an ever-ready stock of ideas. I've got a quite a few but not nearly enough, really. Many of those are going to be useless when I come to actually try and make an outline out of them so I need to be constantly churning them out.
The producers didn't want all six of Gallagher's but they had the option. Another reason for having many ideas is that your favourite one may already be being done. Or they might just not like it, however brilliant it is.
We can call producers all the names under the sun but an amateur sulks and whines and a professional just offers something else to them (while sulking and whining on the inside).
The first step to an ever-ready stock of ideas is to carry a notebook and pen everywhere which many of us do but we need to write down everything - even if it seems a bit rubbish at first. The second is to be pro-active in looking for ideas.
Dearly departed (from the blogosphere) Lianne blogged about Post Secret and We Feel Fine yonks ago. And you may have come across other such story-starter sites.
There's also newspapers where we can find inspiration from the news pages to the obituaries.
Tony Jordan said this about creating characters for TV:
"You need to find your characters first and your story second when you create a show. It's madness to go story first, characters become story vehicles."
"Great stories are great, but great shows have character. They're character-based, not story-based. Get your characters right and you'll get longevity in series creation."
"The way to success in creating shows is character, passion, emotional truth.
In the RPP Project I linked to some good articles about character creation at the bottom of the page.
Mining Your Mind: Journal Techniques for Writers