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Musings - How Do You Come Up With Ideas?


FREE your imagination, give it permission to wander.


Ideas come to me all the time. From small details of the plot, to the characters to the scenery. It's like a really rough dream sequence that has no regard for the time or place of its arrival. I've gotten ideas in the shower, at 3 AM, coming or going places, while running errands, watching a movie, reading a book, drinking, listening to someone talking... the brain never stops creating and imagining. You ask yourself "what if" a lot when you're a writer and you allow yourself to answer, to truly imagine whatever images, people, settings and phrases come to mind. These initial ideas become the building blocks of my stories.


I cannot force ideas and I don't need inspiration to write. What I mean is, I can't sit down and say I'm going to plot out a book...but I can free write in order to build on my original ideas. I also don't need to write at a particular time or feel a certain way to write. Because I plot beforehand I know initially where the scene and books are going, therefore don't need inspiration to write them. I don't allow pre-plotting/outlining to be a crutch to writing. I listen when additional plot points or new ideas come along, this to me is as organic as it gets. I am not good and just writing and not thinking. That's why in yoga I have a hard time bringing my brain to a calm and relaxing point, there is always something or someone shouting at me to do something.


A tool for plotting I've used is courtesy of Alicia Rasley called Outline Your Novel in 30 Minutes. I used this when I outlined my urban fantasy novel. I had an idea of a loose plot before I started so this helped greatly and I used her outlining tips to flesh out the story. Once I have a pretty good outline, I plot all the scenes (or the major scenes) on the Traditional Plot Storytelling Story Board, created by Carolyn E. Copper in 2008. The reason I use this as a tool is because it goes through the stages a story arc contains and becomes my check off list.


Happy plotting!

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