In this world exist people whose heads explode with ideas and who possibly couldn’t turn them all into books even if they wanted to. And then there are people who cannot resist the urge to write but lack a worthwhile idea. If you belong to the second group of writers: fear not. Here are some tips to get you – or rather your imagination – moving.
Fantasize about your life
It might just be that your own experiences are hidden treasures of inspiration. Maybe you had an experience that you feel like writing about. Some of you may sigh in frustration now and say something like ‘Oh my life is utterly boring. I didn’t grow up without parents, I never got abducted by aliens and I certainly never worked for the mafia…’ But you know what? Most stories begin completely normal. Frodo was living an ordinary and calm life in the Shire. Even Harry Potter thought of himself as ‘just Harry’. Think back to some random situation in your life and fantasize what could have happened that moment. What decisions could you have made that would turn your life upside down. You could have boarded the next train to Timbuktu for all I know. On a whim. Or what would have happened if you met the man (or woman) of your dreams and woke up the next day next to his (or her) corpse. Not knowing what has happened. Or when you, as a kid, accidentally threw a ball in the garden of your most peculiar neighbor. While fetching it you notice the open garden shed and hear strange sounds. Then you see the most mysterious creature. See? Fantasizing about your life can be a way to find inspiration.
If you cannot think about anything in your own life you may want to look at the ones of the people around you. Friends, family, colleagues or classmates. Don’t take their story as it is, but take inspiration and maybe some key elements. Never ever use their real names and do change the story line to make it unrecognizable. Respect their privacy.
Another resource of great inspiration are the news. Sometimes there are some rather peculiar stories and incidences that are perfectly fitted for creating a storyline. Apart from that it’s a nice game to read the headlines and imagine the scenario that took place. Your own imagination is the limit.
A different approach here is to read foreign news. Especially with handy tools like Google Translate it’s easier than ever to get the gist of other countries affairs. And you’ll be surprised how different the individual perception is.
This is the biggest well or rather ocean of ideas. Hundreds over hundreds of years of human history. Read some history, anything really and think about consequences. How did it come to this event? What would have happened if something entirely different happened? Think about the lives of individuals. What was Cesars deepest wish? What was Joan of Arc thinking while trying to bring peace amidst thousands of men? Or what would happen if Hitler had had a child? How could you include the french revolution in a fantasy novel? The possibilitis are endless and so is your access to new old ideas. Oh and don’t just read generalized historical events, but try to read about the personal story of someone who has been living through the event.
You can find this information in books or the Internet or in old news papers but also in documentaries and sometimes even interviews.
Books and movies
Who said you cannot find inspiration from your favorite books and movies? I’m sure you do have some favorites? Choose one and think about alternative story lines. What would have happened if the protagonist made a different decision? How would some minor character view the whole situation. Are there aspects in the story – themes – that you especially like? Nadine for example really likes the friendship theme and humanness of the people in Harry Potter. If she were to put this in a story, it certainly is no idea theft. Let yourself be inspired by other stories and collect some ideas. Just don’t steal characters or stories 😉
I hope you have a starting point now to dig for some diamonds. Have fun and enjoy collecting your jewels 🙂
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