Norma: “Mom, what if?” My son peppered me with questions I couldn’t answer when he was small. Many of his ideas were impossible, but nurtured his creativity with Legos, Lincoln Logs, and a giant set of PVC pipe with connecting pieces with accessories called PipeWorks. Our house was littered with his creations, and his imaginary friend had a place at the table every night.
Fiction writers have a bit of the child in them. Ideas whirl through my head, compelling me to write them down. I wonder why someone decided to live out in the middle of nowhere. My practical, engineer husband says the wagon broke down, but my mind creates stories. Perhaps they had a wagon, but possibly it was a lone man on horseback, too weary to go on. Maybe the dead stump was a tree that shaded him on a hot day and he found the view to his liking. That dry creek bed may have held water. Altogether it made a home.
Creativity takes many forms, fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. In an age where vast sources of information are at our fingertips, each writer must find unique ways to communicate ideas a little different than everyone else. Most important is finding something you enjoy and can be passionate about.
Write often and on a variety of topics, allowing the words to flow with your inner editor turned off. Wait a day or two before editing. Look at how others put words together, and read out loud to hear how the words flow. Read other genres and get familiar with your thesaurus, a writer’s best friend for livening up your vocabulary.
Picture every detail of a scene using all of your senses. Use music or environment to put you in the mood for the scene. Remember how you felt in similar circumstances or talk to people who have experienced what you’re writing about. Watching movies or travel videos can help bring your scene to life.
Movies and television are full of ideas you can tweak to make your very own. Gather ideas from surroundings, the grocery store, airport, church, the outdoors, a shopping mall, almost anything can stimulate ideas or emotions your characters might feel. I found the idea for a scene from a fly fishing magazine my husband left lying open and a story he told me about one of his own fishing experiences. It turned out to be one of my favorite scenes.
Paying attention to people, your environment, and cultivating an awareness of your own emotions go a long way toward making your writing realistic and believable. Nurture your creativity by playing the “what-if” game. Fueling your imagination and vocabulary will make your writing creative and unique until it becomes irresistible to your readers.
© Norma Gail, June 23, 2015
Do you have a scene you struggled to imagine, or one that came to you in an odd way, that became a favorite? Any additional tips you can add for boosting your imagination?
Norma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, set in Scotland and New Mexico released in April 2014. She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 19 years. Her devotionals, poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 38 years. They have two adult children.