They tunnel through the rock; their eyes see all its treasures. They search the sources of the rivers and bring hidden things to light.
"Where do you get your ideas?"
A valid inquiry, but every writer needs to understand from the get-go that there is no pat answer. Cold, hard fact: Neither babies nor ideas are delivered by a stork with a basket in his beak.
- They aren’t for sale on department store shelves.
- No recipe exists for mixing one together, complete with baking instructions.
- They can’t be shot down, beheaded and hung over your doorway as a trophy.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / shiffti
But they’re out there, hiding in plain sight. Think of them as chameleons.
Want to play a little hide-and-seek? Chameleons blend into their surroundings. A sharp eye and intentional observation is required to spot them. Honing those spotting skills should be a deliberate daily effort for any writer.
Truth into Fiction
Rewrite the news. What kind of storyline can you manufacture from the most bizarre headline in each edition of your local paper? Television news also offers rich fodder for the imagination of a writer who’s looking for a chameleon.
Beyond the Obvious. Deep depths of possibility lie behind every face and every interaction you witness. How did the homeless man you see on the street every day come to be in that position? Why did the visitor who sat across the aisle from you in church look so sad and hopeless? What happened to the scarred teenager who serves your morning cuppa at the corner coffee shop? Think! Ask yourself questions. Find the possibilities just beyond your line of sight.
Spotting ideas in everyday circumstances is like a mental muscle…it withers away from lack of use. How do we tone muscles? Through exercise, of course. Strengthen, tighten and tone your observation and idea-spotting skills by working them...every day.
Take the exercises below and run with them, but don't stop there—come up with some of your own.
- Find a good website or buy a book that provides daily writing prompts. But don't just read the prompts—carry them out! You aren't practicing until you're doing something. You’ll find an enormous amount of help and information here: http://www.creative-writing-now.com/
- Take a walk, go shopping (people watching), volunteer somewhere (exposure to a world of experiences), etc. Ideas are hiding in life, and you must live if wish to see them.
- Flip through the pages of a magazine or browse photos on a stock photo website. Choose three photos that grab your attention for whatever reason. Create a storyline around those photos.
- Free write. Set your timer for 15-30 minutes, then start writing. Don’t plan. Don’t worry about whether it makes sense, or if one sentence relates to the next. Just write whatever comes to mind. You’ll be surprised what nuggets you can glean from these sessions.
- Perhaps most importantly...pull out the old enthusiasm and fervor that you wore like a cloak when you first started writing. It still fits.
Ready? Set? GO—play a game of hide-and-seek with the chameleons.
Love in the WINGS
Church secretary and praise team leader, Aria Robbins isn't happy when she has to work with the new youth minister. She also has to grin and bear it when he moves into the cottage next to hers at Heart's Haven...but she doesn't have to like him. Truth is, she'd be much happier if Corbin Bishop would take his charm and his big, fancy ideas right back to Austin where he belongs.
When a spiritual attack on Angel Falls lands Aria and Corbin on the battlefront as part of a team of prayer Warriors in God's Service (WINGS), they must fight for their town, their church, and their pastor, and Aria sees Corbin in a whole new light.
But emotional scars from an unspeakable childhood have distorted Corbin's acceptance of certain Scriptural truths, and Aria won't trust her heart in the hands of a man whose faith is unsure. Aria wraps her prayer wings around him tightly. Will Corbin finally trust God to heal his soul?
DELIA LATHAM is a born-and-bred California gal, raised in a place called Weedpatch and currently living in the lovely mountain town of Tehachapi with her husband and a spoiled Pomeranian. She enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She has a "thing" for Dr. Pepper, and loves to hear from her readers. Contact her through her website or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Find her also at the following online locations:
Living the Write Life (blog)