A few of you noted that you’ve been tripped up here lately. I CAN SO RELATE!!! There are so many books out there… how do we write something fresh that hasn’t already been done?
Even though I have many of these creative-frustrated moments myself, here’s a few ideas that have helped me at times (and some that were offered in the comment section yesterday!)
- People watch. Mentioned a few times in the comments yesterday, and SO very true. Go to the mall, the grocery store, the bowling alley and watch people. Eavesdrop (um, be careful with this…) and just observe their mannerisms. See an interesting person? Let your mind wonder. What makes that person tick. Challenge yourself to think of the most outrageous circumstance you can think of. It will get you thinking, and might spark some ideas for your story.
- Fill in the blank This is a game my husband and I play. When we are in a restaurant, or actually, usually in our car (like at sonic or something) and we see someone deep in conversation, we mimic what they are saying, trying to make the conversation match their body language. It’s quite funny, if I do say so myself. And gets my creative brain stimulated.
- Watch a movie Sometimes when I really am OUT of the writing/creative mood, I watch a romantic comedy. I have a handful that I watch over and over because they never cease to put me in the writing mood. (I write contemporary romance… you can fill in the genre that you see fits) Now, I don’t use material from the movie, obviously, but it helps get me in the right frame of mind.
- Brainstorm with someone My mom, sisters, and husband, and sometimes even children, are good for this. I’ll just sit and talk to them about ideas, let them spew from my mouth, and they offer little suggestions along the way. Sometimes just trying to articulate ideas to them helps jump start the juices.
- Drop a bomb If your book feels like it’s dragging, it usually means one of two things. 1.) You went down a wrong path or 2.) You need a bomb. A bomb in a story doesn’t HAVE to be an actual explosive (but I guess it can be…) but more like something HUGE that happens that redirects your story. I used this recently, because I’d been in a rut halfway through my book and that is NOT a good place to be. Nothing worked to help get me out. So… what could I do to get out of it? I got some dynamite and totally threw my MC through a loop. It involved a job change, a very angry hero, and a victorious antagonist. Now that I have everyone riled up, I can proceed.
Other good ideas from comments yesterday:
- Reading different genres
- Shoot someone (kinda like my bomb dropping…)
- Real life (AMEN!)
- Exercise (this helps me too… although too much tuckers me out!)
- Rest. Opposite of the last one, but just as important. If we get too tired, our creativity might take a nap too.
Feel free to add more today!
Or… to mix it up a little… can you think of an example in a book you’ve read recently where the author “mixed” it up? Obviously, don’t give away endings or spoilers, and feel free to use particular creative geniuses you’ve had in your own work as examples.
My Example: I read Deeanne Gist’s “A Bride in the Bargain” recently. A GREAT book BTW. Okay, so quite obvious from the back of the book that’s it’s about a girl who comes West, thinking she’s getting a job as a cook but then realizes she’s actually been “bought” as a mail-order bride. She isn’t pleased, and refuses to marry, but the guy is in dire straights for a wife otherwise he loses his land.
That, right there, seems like a winner of a book to me. Lots of conflict, a good romance possibility… I’m itching to read it again just remembering. LOL. But what I didn’t expect was him asking for the hand of another lady… in fact my jaw pretty much dropped, then I laughed. Very hard. And… if you would like to know WHO he asks and what comes of it, and why I found it so funny, well, you’ll just have to read it, now won’t you! Regardless, it was a creative twist that added another layer to an already very good book.