Monday, July 6, 2015

Five Ways to Generate Writing Ideas

If you’ve never had a bout of writer’s block, you haven’t been writing for long enough. Whether you love to outline and don’t know what happens next, or if your plot is lacking some pizazz, you may just need a little helping pumping your author juices. Here are our go-to solutions when we need a little inspiration!

1. Go for a walk with someone: Being co-authors, Leah and I have an advantage by having two minds to brainstorm, but mostly it’s just sprouting ideas back and forth that really gets us the best idea. Having a sounding board, whether it be your mom, best friend, critique partner, or even your dog, is helpful because it gets you spewing out ideas and hearing them out loud. Plus, grabbing some fresh air and getting your blood pumping is great to rejuvenate a foggy brain!

2. Take a nap: Don’t get too excited; you have to stay awake! But one of the most fun ways to work out the plot is to make a playlist of music that inspires you or fits your story and just daydream. If you find yourself replaying the same scenario in your head, you’ll know you have an enticing scene to write. I find this idea also works great in the shower or on a bus, too!

3. Play a game: This is something Leah and I do not only to generate ideas but for fun as well! We write the names of all our characters of our current project and put them in a bowl. Then, we write a bunch of settings, such as “On a bridge” or “In the rain” or “In jail” and put those in a bowl. Finally, we write down a bunch of verbs, such as “Kissing” or “Fighting”, and put those in a bowl. We draw one setting, two verbs and two characters, then put a ten-minute timer on. We both write a random scenario using our drawn cards! Even if this doesn’t generate a plausible plot solution, it’s a great way to get your writing juices flowing, get into character, and practice your voice! Plus, some of the stories come out HILARIOUS.

4. Experiment with a different medium: Sometimes it helps to put your story on a different kind of page; Leah loves to draw scenarios or characters from our current project, and often finds this helps her discover something new about the plot or character. If drawing isn’t for you, modify it. If you like making music, try writing a theme song for your book. Even a vision board on Pinterest helps you visualize your creations and can spark new ideas!

5. Make it history:
One of the absolutely best ways to iron out plot snags or get ideas is to borrow from history. Our world and the people in it are fascinating and history has inspired many epic books. For example, Tolkien is famously inspired by Anglo-Saxon folklore, and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice is a fantastical take on the War of Roses. Leah’s and my book Jane Unwrapped (Entangled Teen Crave) was so fun and exciting to plot because the Egyptian history of the time was dramatic enough for a book without our help making up new ideas!

If you have any secrets to generating ideas, let me know in the comments!

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