Why I Use Music in My Writing

blog 18aI listen to my music as I clean the house. Soulful R &B blasts while I’m doing my hair. I perform dance sequences and sing along to my favourite Hip Hop joints in the shower. Alternative rock music wails as I’m driving. Motown hits swirl through my mind with the story ideas I’m typing on to my laptop. Pop songs bop my head while my students complete a writing exercise. It can be said that music is in my daily life. 

Many people have similar experiences with music. Maybe they listen to different genres either way the fact that music is a part of the majority of people’s lives is evident in the Top 40 list, Billboard Music Charts, and the long successful run of music magazines, such as, The Rolling Stone. Music touches everyone. 

Therefore, why wouldn’t my characters have music in their stories? My characters are created from traits I have and from personalities that have entered my life. Basically, they resemble people. And in such, not only do my characters feel love, pain and intimacy (like everyone else), they listen to music. 

Music in a novel can set the mood similar to the scores played in a film. It gives the audience an extra stimulant to what feelings the character is going through in a particular scene. It can also help the reader internalize that emotion since music is relatively popular by its beat and common message.  

There are songs about heartbreak, redemption, having fun, feeling lonely, regrets, and etc. All emotions humans have felt sometime in their lives. Making it relatable which also adds a way for your readers to feel connected to your characters. They can empathize what the character is going through because they themselves have felt similar in those recognizable moments. 

So, add some music to your stories. Give you reader a background sound that strengthens the awareness of the conflict and/or tension in the story. Think of it as a hint to what is about to happen like the ominous music before the killer jumps out in a film or the slow jam that plays at the moment the hero and heroine unite in a Romcom movie.  

Or try creating a soundtrack. Or have a character make a mixtape that follows what they would most likely listen to. 

Adding a musical element to your writing will make an impactful difference in how people read your story. 

 

For ideas check out my YouTube channel at  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm30hEYSEt8Ji27AOT5ICVw     

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Also, don’t forget to leave a comment about how you use music in your life and/or in your writing.

Novels Every Romance Author Should Have Read

girl-1721436_640My mother loved reading so it was only natural that she would read to me as a child. That’s where the spark of imagination begins is in reading. Writers are readers.  Reading has its influence on writers to futrther form stories in the sense of how to build suspense, drama, romance and develop characters.

Like life, people follow the examples they have been given. Such is why readers can see glimpses of other authors’ styles in my own writing. Writers I read when I was younger all the way up to today have thankfully continued to led me into the stories I spin.

Below are some amazing authors whose fantastic art of storytelling have created books I read in my youth which definitely left imprints my writing. Past novels everyone should have read before, especially romance writers.

V.C. Andrews

Here these coming of age dramas are seeped in betrayal, family secrets and young love. It’s the soap opera world for YA literature. These series had me locked up in my room for hours at a time as I witness the ups and downs of characters similar to my age. My personal favorites were My Sweet Audrina, Ruby, and of course, Flowers in the Attic.

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                 my-sweet-audrina-9781451636970_hr1    ruby1       flowers-in-the-attic1

 

R.L. Stine 

Before Goosebumps, Stine made preteens skin crawl with the horrors of the residents of Fear Street. Teens had a typical bad day made worse by death and terror. I loved The Betrayal, The Burning, The Secretand Lights Out.

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John Saul 

An adult step from Fear Street. Saul goes above and beyond to write about twisted individuals in sometimes everyday situations. He has a surprise around every corner. I could not put down these favorites: Second Child and Suffer the Children.

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220px-suffer_the_children_novel     2nd-child

Maya Angelou

Her powerful prose and poetry built up my black consciousness. She uplifted my soul and pride when reading her prolific poetry in Maya Angelou: Poems. Also, I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings, her heartbreaking autobiography really touched me. It shows the strong adversary of living through a painful past.

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maya-angelou-poems     220px-caged_bird_cover

Toni Morrison 

The queen of African American magical realism. Her novels of the African American experience weaved into culture and history creates her own mythology for the descendants of the Middle Passage survivals. Hands down my favorite of hers is The Bluest Eye.

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Richard Wright 

I’ll be honest. I have only read Native Son. However, the emotions I felt reading that book has stayed with me forever. His take on nature vs environment in a racist 1930s Chicago had me hating and loving the main character throughout the book. It was the first experience I had ever had where the hero was so unlikeable. But the reader empathizes, and by the end actually sympathized, with Bigger Thomas. Wright has his character pit against poverty and the hopelessness an all-white society frames into young black men’s minds that are still relevant and heartbreaking today.

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Anne Rice 

Vampires, witches, and mummies, but with heart. Rice was a trailblazer. When she set her characters out to be exposed by the world, she entertains her readers with the real emotional turmoil and exhaustion of eternal life in her monsters’ series. The reader gets the point of view of a monster similar to Bram Stroker but Rice went further into the heart and soul of these creatures.  My absolute cherished one of hers is The Tale of the Body Thief.

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MaryJanice Davidson 

Her Queen Betsy Novel series had me laughing. The humor, sex and vampire issues kept my interest through the whole series. There are quick reads packed filled with all the suspense, horror, and romance needed in that single dose of drama. And every book has a nicely wrapped up storyline with a hint of the next book just around the corner to get the reader closer to the ultimate showdown between the heroine and the baddie.

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And lastly, Judith McNaughty 

The feminist in me was a bit upset by her virgin, damsels-in-distress heroines that were obsess with the leading hero.  The playboy hero would brutally take their virginity out of some misunderstanding and spend the rest of the novel trying to fight back their love and desire to claim the heroine who has moved on. Yes, most of McNaughty’s novels take place in a time where women were sold into marriage and woman’s rights wasn’t even a concept, so you can’t completely write situations outside of that norm. But McNaughty did give her headstrong heroines’ strengths in their own ways and the passion between the characters made up for any misogynistic ideas that came into play. I loved Paradise and A Kingdom of Dreams.

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         paradise                     kingdom

As an adult, my reading taste have grown and changed. However, I still occasionally think back at those authors from my preteens and teenage years. Their stories spark fond memories of lengthy entertainment while inspiring me to tell my story in offbeat and suspenseful ways.

What authors from your past didn’t make it on the list? How did they influence you? Have you read any of the writers mentioned above? What is your personal opinion of their writing? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Could You Be a Writer? 10 Ways to Know If You Are a Writer.

writingPeople have dreams of being a firefighter, a famous actor or singer. They imagine the enjoyment of being excited to work every day, instead of slumping out of bed to do a job they have no interest in. A job that pays the bills. Not everyone gets their dream job. Not everyone knows what they are meant to do in life or what really makes them happy to go to work. One way to find out is by exploring your habits and interests. Could you be a writer?
The questions below explore the possibility of this field of creativity. Your personal answers will reveal if this is the right path for you.

1. Do you have a notepad or some paper and pen next to your bed stand?
If you have these items resting by your bed, you are a person who has ideas that you must jot down in the middle of the night, before bed, and when you wake up. You can’t let those ideas go. You may use them for a future story or use them to help improve the novel you are working on now. Either way, that pad by your bed is a clear sign that you are a writer.
2. Do you imagine alternative endings to books, TV shows, or films?
After you read a book, watch TV or come from the cinema, your mind plays around with better ideas to end a storyline that you had been somewhat enjoying until the middle or end of it. You think that could have been so much better if they had done this instead. Writers think of how to revise a story.
3. Have you ever read a book and thought you could do better?
In an eBook enterprise of self-publishing that has exploded in the past decade, readers will come across some crappy novels. (I hope I’m not in that category.) These books will lack substance, have predictable outcomes, and cheesy dialogue. Basically, a step below watching a made for TV movie from Hallmark. If you have been exposed to such horrendous writing, you may want to write something to show up other authors.
4. Are you thinking about a book idea?
Everyone has a unique story that springs from their own individual experiences. Novels are a manifestation of what has happened mixed with what could have happened. You could have an idea for a book that with time and patience can turn into a great novel.
5. In passing moments, do you think about how to work out a storyline or scene?
Whether you are stuck in traffic or having a cigarette outside on your porch, if you find yourself imagining what your character will do to carry into the next plot point or how the story can turn into a book, then you must be a writer.
6. Do you write down interesting names and research baby naming websites when you are not expecting a little one?
You’re not having a baby but you are looking up meanings of names. Nicknames and popularity rank of names that you find interesting are playing across your mind. You watch the opening credits of a show and think “Wow that person has a good last name”. Some writers have trouble thinking up the right name for their characters. What name will be suitable to portray the awesomeness of this person that had been plaguing their thoughts? Authors use search engines to spark this inspiration for that name their readers will remember forever.
7. Do you daydream about characters?
When you have an idea of a person, you think of how they would respond to a certain comment. Wonder how they would act in normal or abnormal situations. How they would dress and gesture. Their background. The way they enter a room. These and many other scenarios authors find themselves creating in the cervices of their imaginations.
8. Do ideas come to you when you are people watching?
Say you are sitting on a park bench or in line for the cashier at a store. Look around you. People are interacting. They give the quiet observe plenty of ammunition to use in a story. Lots of times writers will find themselves eavesdropping into a public conversation and thinking “I could use that in my book”.
9. Are you the storyteller in your group of friends or in your family?
During the course of a week or a day, one might find that they are spinning a tale about a person or a fictional event to entertain loved ones. Maybe your lover asks you to tell them a naughty story during pillow talk. Talking about a world/scene where people escape into has become your talent. Use that to begin writing.
10. Do you not remember conversations your partner has said about change of plans for that day or week?
Maybe you missed what was said about an appointment, an asked favor or some assigned responsible. Lately, a few times in the week my husband claims he told me that I’m dropping of kids because he has an appointment or my daughter has to have a certain item that day for school , etc. And I have no reconciliation of this conversation. Nothing rings a bell. All because as he was talking while my mind was occupied by a story. When the story becomes an obsession you might need to write.
So, could you be a writer? If you answered yes for most of these questions, you are on your way to being a potential writer. Don’t quit your job. Explore your talent in this. Jot down some notes. Try writing out a plot. Write a novel. Get someone to read it. Then, revise and edit the crap out of it. Check out my earlier blog, Turn Your Story Ideas into a Novelfor help.
If you answered no, to most of these. Then you know writing may not be for you. Explore something else. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? How can you make it a career out of it?

Leave a comment about your own ideas of what makes a writer.
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3 Simple Ways to Read More (while Having a Way Too Busy Schedule)

Do you have a stack of books collecting dust on your bookshelf? Is your Kindle or Ipad storage full of books that you have been meaning to read? Has your living room turned into the library of ‘Where Books are Forgotten’?

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These stories stare back at you every day, screaming to be read. However, you are not to blame here. You have the desire to read them just not the time. Whether it be work, kids, family commitments, binge watching Netflix, or simply haven’t had time to get into the book, there is always time to read.

Here are some tips to help you finished that novel before you hit retirement age:

#1: Read When You Can 

Most smartphones have an app on them that allows you to read on almost any chosen device. Most of us are on our phone in the elevator, waiting in line, watching our child during basketball practice, etc. Well, instead of searching Facebook, whatsapping or researching the sport scores, read a page or two of your book.

I sometimes do it when I’m uploading files on my computer. That minute or two of wasted time can be channeled into helping you complete that novel that you have always wanted to read.

#2: Bedtime 

Right before you close your eyes and say goodnight to your 15 hours of constantly on-the-go day, lie in bed with your book or electronic reading tool and read at least a page. Reading a page every night might make you complete the book of choice under a year. But despite this long timetable, you will have completed a book. One down and a hundred odd to go. Progress is progress, no matter the pace.

And you never know. You might get into the book and that 1 page a day might transform into 5 pages a night or a chapter. Just be careful not to get tuck in that reading sweet spot. No matter how good the book is getting, keep in mind that you need your sleep to get through the next day. So, before it gets too late at night put the book down and wait til bedtime the next day.

#3: Audiobooks are the Holy Grail of Time Efficiency 

I commute to work Monday through Friday. In those 5 days, I have 40 minutes of daily listening freedom. Most listen to the news or their favorite songs. I choose to escape into autopilot while listening to someone read the current book I am reading. Of course, take cautious when you do this. Have the off button or pause button handy when you have to really concentrate on the road.

If that isn’t possible or it is too above your comfort level, there is always alternatives to listening to audiobooks. You can listen while at the gym or doing exercise. You can do it while cleaning or straightening up the house. I do it to cooking. Point being whatever time in the day that is available to just listen during mild distractions.

Audiobooks can be more expensive than the book itself. If money is stopping you from getting that audio, try some helpful programs like Kindle Converter. It converts kindle books into pdf files. The first 5 or 7 are free but you can pay for an unlimited amount for a small fee. After you have converted your book into a pdf file, use a free read aloud app to read out your novels to you. @Voice Aloud Reader is my personal favorite but there are many to choose from.

girl-1721436_640Bottomline: There is nothing to stop you from completing that book. Don’t worry about the time it will take. And don´t think you don´t have the time. Everyone has 5-10 minutes in their life that they can use to read. Pick your moments and soon you’ll be finding more than 10 minutes within your day to squeeze in a good book.

Brush off those cobwebs and dust mites. And get into a good book.

What book are you reading now? How long has it taken you to read it? What are some ways you try to complete a novel? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Books I’m currently reading:

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Why Supporting Other Writers´ Novels Can Be Extremely Useful

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One big aspect of improving your writing craft is by reading other authors´ works. Preferably, the genres you write about, or at least are interested in.

Seeing your craft through the eyes of others helps develop your own skills. Maybe, you have trouble with characterization or dialogue. Reading the examples from fellow successful authors can guide you to turn your words into a perfect rhythm of writing.

Take a further step and review what you’ve read by them. Authors appreciate all types of feedback, good and bad. Comments about their work help authors think of ways to improve their own style.

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Based on your review, readers may try reading that particular book. Leading them to another novelist could prompt readers towards you. If readers share your opinion of that book, they will think your books will be just as entertaining as the other writer´s. The company you keep scenario, right? Also, you never know. An appreciative fellow writer may write a review for you. Let the back rubbing begin!

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Help your fellow community by reading different authors’ stories, sharing your thoughts, and recommending writers to others

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Now on to my review:

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M. Malone and Nana Malone have done it again in Deep (The Deep Duet Book 1). Rafael DeMarco is trying to get his life on a normal course as he is reintroduced into his little sister’s life and family. He tries hard to shake the demons of his past but a missing jewel keeps him under the radar of his old government employment. The target on his back grows bigger when he comes in contact with Diana Vandergraff. Diana is a woman focus in avenging her father, who happened to have been murdered by Rafe. Pretending to be a damsel in distress, Diana gets Rafe to play right into her hands. However, with all Diana’s scheming, she is starting to fall deep into the role Rafe believes her to be. And Rafe is beginning to not understand life without her in it. Leaving the reader to see that maybe both have gone in too deep.

The thing I enjoyed most was the inner monologues the characters had with their conscious and sometimes their libido. These lines had me cracking up, such as:

“So not the right time to realize she was cute and smelled amazing. Focus, man.”

Or

“How evil can he be? He stopped to help a total stranger . She shut that shit right down . That was her traitor of a vagina talking.”

I loved how real it made the characters. They are similar to thoughts I’ve had or shared with my girls. I was pleasantly surprised by how this bonded me to the main characters while was a big catalyst to motivate my reading.

I also really enjoyed the steamy love scene. They were hot like fire! Ohhh child! They were something else. I still waving the fans of those flames.

There isn’t much I can say that was bad about this novel. If I had to point out a flaw, it would be Rafe’s constant presence in the apartment. Yeah, at times he did leave but for short periods at a time. Didn’t he have a security job to do? Also, for a dangerous man, I felt there should have been more scenes of tension to show how dangerous he could be. A little more showing, then telling in this part of his character.

Either way, I would recommend this book to romance readers who love a dangerous man with talented hands and holds a soft spot for saving women from trouble (whether it be real or imaginary).

Turning Your Story Ideas into a Novel

abstract writing

Now you have a story idea. Your excitement grows while you wait for the computer to load the word document, where you will type your new story. The white page pops up and it is as blank as your mind. You have an idea but you don’t have a clue on how to develop it into a story. 

This can be very demotivating and a waste of time. Luckily, I have a way around this mental obstacle. When I worked as an English teacher in Northern California, one of my favorite units was creative writing. I would break the writing process up into weeks to give students time to develop a short story. The first week the class conducted various brainstorming techniques to get their story idea. The following week was dedicated to structuring that idea. A technique I am going to share with you. 

Welcome to the How. Whether you are a pantser that writes where the inspiration takes you, or a plotter with organized structures, the most successful way to completing a novel is having an outline. Nooooooooo!!!! 

boy yelling

Calm down. It doesn’t have to be that serious or that difficult. You don’t even have to stick to it if you don’t want to. Think of your story outline as a road map to destination: novel completion. And like most road trips you can take detours, or alternative routes.  

An outline won´t stop you from discovering hidden roadways. This fun experience, that the secret inner pantser in me loves, can heighten your experience of the trip while successfully getting you to where you need to be. All with the help of having an outline to help steady you back on your course. 

I will discuss the two ways to go about making an outline for the pantser and the plotters. Feel free to omit steps in the plotter if you want a less constricted plan. Either method should ensure a finished novel. The length of time to completed it will entirely depend on you discipline of finding time to write it. 

Finding the Plot 

First, I should point out the plot. Every story has a simple plot line to follow. You need these points to make a strong story. You can’t just have your characters hanging out at a coffee shop talking. Actions and dramas must happen for the reader to want to read on. 

Let’s breakdown the plot structure in this chart. (I love visuals!) 

plot

Okay, so that is the foundation of any story. The creative writing tricks of foreshadowing, characterization, rich description, theme, irony, etc are weaved throughout this structure. In another blog, I will address these techniques. 

Now let’s look at the different approaches to creating an outline. 

The Method  

You notice that the main theme in a plot is a problem and its possible solutions. In order to make problems, the writer and reader must know a little about the character. 

Step 1: Write out a character sketches. 

  • This can be of your protagonist and your antagonist. Or if it is a romance, the two people who are to fall in love. 
  • Keep it simple. Below is a sketch to use.  
  • Name: 
  • Profession: 
  • Hometown: 
  • Current Location: 
  • Inner desire: (Motivates character to continue through obstacles/solve problem in story) 
  • Outer desire: (Motivates character to continue through obstacles/solve problem in story) 
  • Physical Characteristics: 
  • Likes and dislikes: 

****For plotters: You can modify it to add more. Write quick notes about each one. Include possible information: the character’s family history, past lovers and love failures, ambitions, list of favorites from food to color, their go to outfit (=clothes they normally wear), free time activities, thoughts when first met antagonist and/or love interest, etc.  

Also, researching things like name meanings, characters likes and the setting can help you get a more in-depth understanding of your characters’ world, which will come in handy when you are writing. 

Either way you need to know what to write about your character. Plus, you can always go back and add more during the writing process. This is just to get the ball rolling. 

 

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Step 2: Identifying the problem 

What is the main conflict in your novel? What will bring your narrative to life? 

The classic conflicts in the majority of successful stories are: 

  • Character vs. Character 
  • Character vs. Nature 
  • Character vs. Self 
  • Character vs. Supernatural 
  • Character vs. Technology (Ex:) 
  • Character vs. Society (Ex: Animal Farm) 

Both pantsers and plotters should write out the main problem then spider graph the possible solutions. Next, write the possible problems created from those solutions. Here, you have constructed a web of ideas to fall back to when you are stuck. Obviously, the plotters´ web will be far more detailed than pantser. 

This is a good place to do some research about the topics in your story. It may help you come up with more problems and solutions. 

Step 3: Make a Loose Outline 

Following the procession of events set in the basic plot, write quick notes on what scene/actions should take place during each plot point. 

I’ll use the story of Cinderella for an example: 

  • Incident:  
    • Cinderella, sweetie who has evil stepsisters and step mother. Set in a land far away at her house. Conflict/Problem: not allowed to go to ball where prince will choose a wife 
  • Rising action:  
    • godmother allows her to go to ball but must be back by midnight. Dances with prince and falls in love 
  • Climax:  
    • midnight Cinderella must leave before she turns back. Prince doesn’t know who she is or how to find her but she leaves a glass slipper.  
      • (Here the original conflict is solved but with an added complication: Cinderella got to go to the ball but the prince can´t find the bride he has chosen. Now, it´s the prince´s problem, not Cinderella. Her conflict was resolved. In the falling action, we see the aftermath of her resolved conflict.) 
  • Falling Action:  
    • Prince has all the females in the land try on the shoe. Stepmother breaks shoe. 
  • Resolution:  
    • Cinderella has the spare shoe. Marries prince. 

This can be as detailed as you would like, pantsers. Plotters will probably write over 2,000 words in this section alone. Take the day to do this. Come back to it until you have a loose guide. 

****For plotters: Let the plot line you have created marinate for a day or two. Later, go back and add more details such as, how the character gets to one plot point to the other; what other characters come involve at those particular parts of the story; connect the path of conflicts arising; etc. 

After a week or less, you should have a strong direction of where your story is going. 

Step 4: Finally, the Hardcore Outline! 

Pantser this is where you will probably leave us. The next step is a method for plotters. But everyone is welcome to try it. 

For each plot point, write notes on a scene that would express the ideas in that point. I’m a fan of the less detail the better but I like to fall back on a general idea. Again, this is up to your discretion.  

Be sure the scenes are in the order you would like the story to go. It is okay if you decide later to switch out scenes or delete/add scenes. This is only guidelines to get you to complete a writing piece. 

now what

What Now? 

Well, write. 

It should take up to a week or more to complete this process of planning. I like to do it over about 5 days then use the weekend for the novel to settle in my head before I start writing.  

Don’t expect a masterpiece. The important part is to get the words down. If you notice that your flow is constantly being interrupted by research, or lack of how to describe something, just highlight a note to yourself to go back in the editing process and fix it. Continue to write without minimal details holding you back. The editing process will smooth out all those bumps later. 

 

Now you are equipped with a story idea and how to make it into a novel. Good luck! Let me know how it goes. 

Share and/or write a comment below. 

#keepwriting 

#writinganovel 

#guidetocompletinganovel 

 

Story Ideas: What to Write. 7 Ways to Find the Inspiration to Tell a Story

 

So, you want to write, huh? You’ve just finished reading a long line of disappointing books that you came away with thinking: “I could do better”. Or maybe, you’ve came across some old stories you had written in a creative writing course. Or you have always been a natural born storyteller, and now you want to make it into a physical form. Regardless of the reason, you want to write. But what? And How?

 The How can come later. The Why is not important. Let´s try to get to the what.

Every story is sparked by an idea that has had time to grow and nurture with the help of talent and patience.

Do not be fooled into thinking that the idea you have will be the greatest one ever. “No need to twerk this one. It´s golden!!!” Naw, boo. Even Danielle Steel had to work out her inspirations to make a bestselling novel.

Also, don’t think that every story pitch you create is terrible. You know how many people thought Star Wars was a piece of fluff!!! I bet those losers from the 70’s are still kicking their own butts for passing up that gold mine.

However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Again, let us start whit the what. What to write. How to get that spark. Below is a list of seven ideas to inspire that story to come out you.

picture collage1. A Picture 

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. You can make that thousand jump to 50,000 words with the right idea. Flip through your favorite magazine or google pictures online. Jot down some story that could have or will be.

optical illusion

2. Optical Illusions 

For the sci fi, paranormal or mysterious writer in you, these freaky images mess with the eyes as well as your head. Check out https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-optical-illusions/   or https://www.pinterest.es/patrichsymon/optical-illusion-street-art/  for pursuing the internet gallery of the weird. With hidden images slowly revealing themselves, fun and interesting stories can come to you at any moment.

 

3. Music 

It’s not just for singing and dancing to. Songs are their own short stories which are usually about other people’s similar experiences. This connects us to the voice singing their shared joys and pain.

music

You can’t tell me that when Angie Stone is singing “So Pissed Off”, you are not thinking about that no good scrub you use to date. Or when you are head bobbing to “Fake Love” by Drake, you know that frenemy or fake friend at work is in the back of your head.

Either way, music brings out your personal stories that you can use to create an alternative version. So, turn on that radio or Spotify.  Go thru your playlist and let the music take your imagination higher.

 

4. Fairy tales (or older stories) 

As a child, I was read to every night before I went to sleep. My imagination swirled around the princesses, care bears, strawberry shortcake and other mythical creatures. My dreams reflected their bubbly universes. A tradition that I now share with my own kids.

Take one of your favorites and turn the story around. Change the time or tell  it from another characters perspective. You could give it a prequel or another chapter after happily ever after. Or how about changing the country or switching roles around? Whatever it’s your story.

 

5. “What if” Scenarios  

Ladies we always ask our love interest these type of questions: What would you do if I was in a coma? If a mountain lion attacked me during a nature walk? If a millionaire asked me for one night? And on and on.

Turn those what ifs to your creative advantage. What if your body lays in a coma while your spirit roams around watching life pass you by? What would you see? Who would you visit? How would your spouse or lover or family react?

 

man on a bench6. People Watching 

The isolationist movement of only having personal contact with our phones has made this simple and entertaining activity obsolete. There are benches in parks and along sidewalks that were made for people to sit on and watch their community go by. Some people might have said a hello and started a conversation with a neighbor or citizen that had passed by. Imagine, eye contact!

Quiet intimate moments where no one pays attention to other people. You can learn a lot about characterization by watching people. How they show emotions through physical gestures and facial responses rather than words can be raw material to help shaping future characters. Observe the way they interact with other people or other objects other than a phone. It is rare but it does happen!

Then, after some time, you may see your story unfold in front of you.

7. Fan Fiction 

Fan fiction has been growing for the past decade. Writers take their favorite characters and give them extra stories and backgrounds not used in their original storylines. Think of a character that you wish had more thinks happening to him/her.

Rewrite them in other stories. Have them battle it out or solve a mystery with characters in other stories that you would enjoy reading about.  Look at Marvel and DC comics. They do it all the time. How else would we find out what happened when Batman fought Spiderman?

Try one, or all of these, creative writing methods. Jot down some notes in a small notebook. I always have my notepad next to my bed for those story moments. I also use a writing app (JotterPad) in my phone when I’m out in the world.

It may take a few days, a few months, or longer for a story to form. No matter, keep with it! No one is going to write the tale you want until you do. Don’t give up on your ideas!

Then later, start thinking up a problem(s) and a solution(s). How would it work? Soon that idea will blossom into a story. That is when we get to the how.

***Click here to read how to shape those ideas into a story.