Beat the Blank Page: Inspiration for Writers!

Beat the Blank Page: Inspiration for Writers!

This post is most definitely for the writers among you! Have you ever sat down at your desk and tried to write – only to find you have no ideas at all? Here are 6 ways to get you started on a new piece of fiction:

  1. Choose a novel off your shelf – preferably one you haven’t read. Open randomly and let your eyes land on a portion of a sentence that sounds vague. Write from there.

Examples:           Hearing a noise behind him, he turned and…
It was a house they had never noticed before…

Alternately, choose the first line of a story and write from it, or choose the last line of a story, and write towards it. (When you are done, change the sentence because it belongs to another writer!)

  1. Choose a piece of instrumental music at random – online sources are useful, or ask a friend or family member to select a piece for you (so you are unbiased!). Close your eyes and imagine the music is a soundtrack for the beginning of a movie. Allow images to play in your head. After a minute or so, open your eyes and write down the images. Try to recreate the mood of the music as you describe them. Continue writing from there.

 Go for a short walk. Imagine something you see is not what it seems. Obvious the person or thing closely. Allow your mind to build a story around them. Find a quiet space to write – begin from your observations and allow a story to grow from there. Example: I see a large oak tree in someone’s garden. It is half dead now – very old. The garden is bumpy around it, from the huge roots. I imagine there is something under there. What? This is not an ordinary oak tree. Once, long ago, it was a person. A young boy who did something he should not have done. What? Someone he trusted was really his enemy. Who did this to him? Who turned him to a tree? What has he seen happen over centuries? Who or what is in his roots?

  1. Close your eyes and picture someone’s hand or foot. Attend to the image as closely as you can. Open your eyes. Write about the hand or foot in detail. Now pull outwards, and describe the person it belongs to. (This is a terrific way to start building character)
  1. Sit somewhere specific – a café, or park for example – or imagine a place you know well. Have someone write down an emotion on a piece of paper. Now describe the place you have chosen – but in the voice of someone in that emotional state (example – someone struggling with envy walks through a lovely garden in Spring. How do they see it)? This exercise is a good way to illustrate that when we describe a place, we always have to do so in the context of our characters and our story.
  1. Choose a photograph or image from a magazine, newspaper or picture book. Allow the image to inspire you by seeing it as the beginning of a story. Write non stop for a time you decide upon (ten minutes, even an hour) and attempt to complete a story arising from that image within your allotted period of time.

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