WRITING FICTION: Generating Ideas


How do we generate ideas for that fiction that we want to write?  Too often we think that all the ideas have been used up; how can we write something that is fresh and unique? 

The sources of inspiration are all around us: in the daily news headlines, in conversations, and in the questions people are asking. But how do you find those little inspirations that cause the floodgates of creativity to open wide? How does a writer decide what they are going to write about? What inspires us to write, and how do we chose the subject. Are my sources of inspiration any different from another’s inspiration?

It is no secret that the key is to be true to your heart and write about what interests you, discover your passion and the ideas and words will flow like a stream. Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction those sources can vary, so let’s break it down and examine some common methods for finding inspiration.

For some writers the inspiration for that story can come from stirring the creative juices in a number of different ways. Here are a couple of methods, I like to use:

Look at a picture

This used to be an old exercise that we used in school. Look at a picture and ask yourself questions about the scene that you see. For example, let’s say the picture is of a log cabin in the woods surrounded by a thick forest. Immediately you begin to ask yourself questions, like, “who’s house is it?”, “why is it in the woods?”

I use this exercises for my Flash Fiction Fridays. I’ll go through my image files and find an image that resonates with me and that I think will have the same effect on my readers. It is an image that immediately brings a question to mind, like ‘why is that boy on the bridge?’

Just a couple of questions and you are off and running; or rather typing.

Use events from your life or the daily news

Life’s moments and events often have twists of fate that you could never imagine. You can go along and make plans in your life but it never turns out exactly the way you plan it; there are events that take place that change the course of your path ever so slightly, or quite dramatically. If you can’t think of any of your own twists, try reading a story in the newspaper or magazine, these are two great resources for tragedies and twists that you can use for your story.

In one of my own stories I used a case of synchronicity that actually happened, to add to the events in the story. There was the time when I needed a new desk for my office, my lease on my apartment was expiring, and I was contemplating moving; well, a month later when I was able to begin looking for a new home I came across the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, and in the spare room there was an old wooden desk that was offered to me if I agreed to rent the house. How crazy is that?!

So, I have kept this blog fairly short because I want to hear from you. Share some of your strategies for generating ideas with me and our readers here by commenting on this blog. Being able to generate ideas prevents writers’ block and keeps the flow of writing even and smooth.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

If you have any suggestions for future blogs, let me know!

Recommended articles:

Why I Write Fantasy and Soft Science Fiction
FoolProof your Writing


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