Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tuesday Tips: The Idea File

Talk to any published author and they'll tell you that one of the most frequently asked questions they hear is "Where do you get your ideas?" And in many cases, the answer to that question will be: "Everywhere." Authors constantly gather new story ideas. They skim, file and store away snippets that may or may not be used again later.

But what are some of the ways they get these ideas? you might ask. Here are a few suggestions. Beyond that, you can use your imagination -- because that's what writers do, right?

  • Read. Everything. Inside of your genre and out.
  • Read non-fiction. Magazines are great sources of material, as are newspapers and professional journals. Maybe some little-known fact or scientific discovery will be a plot point in your next novel.
  • Listen. The world is full of conversation. The next time you're seated in a public location, take a moment to listen to what's happening around you. Great bits of conversation can lead to more.
  • Keep notes. Have a notebook and pen with you at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike, so you'll want to be prepared. This is especially true at bedtime. Ideas always seem to pop up just as you're drifting off to sleep.
  • Play the 'What If' game. Ask yourself "What if?" over and over, always taking your answer one step farther. Who knows where you'll end up?
  • Climb up your family tree. Maybe you've got interesting ancestors or relatives who did amazing things.
  • Finally, Write. Keep writing. Many times the creativity of the writing process will feed upon itself. The more you exercise your brain, the stronger it will get. A number of authors will say that their own work will spark something new.
These are just a few of the ways to to get your creative juices flowing. I'm certain you can come up with even more. Good luck!

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