Guest post by Kelli A. Wilkins
We continue with Part 3 in my blog series, “Where do you get your ideas?” with a short recap. Previously we learned that ideas are everywhere and many story ideas often come from observing something (people, surroundings, etc.). Last time we learned how to play the “what if” game to generate new ideas. This month, we go “In Search Of…” ideas.
One common ailment that can plague writers is wanting to write something, but not knowing what to write. In this case, you have to get up and physically go in search of an idea. How? It’s easier than it sounds. You can take a trip to your local library and flip through different magazines and newspapers to give you ideas and refresh your muse. (For example, a story on adoption may prompt you to write a short story about a couple adopting a child. Or, perhaps that perfectly flawless model in a makeup ad is really an android.) You can also search the Internet for articles, news stories (“strange” news stories can spark all kinds of ideas) or research topics you may be interested in writing about (haunted dolls, Hawaii, navy SEALs, etc.).
Whenever you visit friends or relatives, look for interesting settings or people that could inspire you to write a story. (The creepy old house down the block from your cousin’s condo could be a perfect setting for your next horror tale.) If you’re on vacation and take a tour of a historic locale, it may inspire you to write a non-fiction piece about the place or set a novel in that time period.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, or coworkers for ideas. Remember, everyone has thousands of personal experiences that could be transformed into story ideas. Get people talking about themselves and you may have more ideas than you can handle! Ask your friends about their worst date, how they met their significant other, what their wedding was like, if they ever saw a ghost, etc.
Real-life stories involving real people add believability to the most outrageous situations. If your friends and family don’t have interesting stories from start to finish, why not combine a few stories into one?
Just for fun: Here are some ideas that could be used in your next story. I’ve broken them down into setting, characters, time of year/day, themes, and even threw in some props. Why not pick a few, mix and match, and see what develops? Play “what if” and let your imagination run wild!
Settings: abandoned strip mall, car dealership, grocery store at 3 am, a wooden bridge, a cemetery, the beach, 1970s drive in, a car wash
Characters: a black cat, female police officer, 8 year-old-child, three sisters, a corpse, man in wheelchair
Time of Year/Day: winter, midnight, 6am, 8pm, Halloween, during an eclipse, 1967, 1539
Themes: revenge, loss, greed, love, contentment, boredom, bullying, keeping a secret, jealousy
Props: a chainsaw, three marbles, a towel, a book of spells with a page missing, a pink lamp, bowl of cat food, a shoe
Next time you’re stuck for something to write, start looking for ideas. Real-world experiences, quirky people, and different locales will motivate your muse. Go for a drive or a walk and write about the first thing you see. Talk to people. Most of them think their lives are very interesting and enjoy sharing stories. Keep your eyes open and look for the ideas that are all around you. You never know what you’ll discover!
This is the third of a four-part series. Next time, find out how you can let ideas come to you!
Kelli A. Wilkins divides her time between writing romance and horror. Her romances vary in genre and range from sensual to super-sizzling hot. Kelli invites readers to visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com to catch up on all her writings.