It’s Wednesday!!! I hope everyone’s well after the last couple days and I hope you’ve had time to mull over my last post. In today’s post I’d like to talk about ideas. Stories, poems, books, conversations, and even wars are started over tiny things like the ideas growing in people’s heads. One of the most frequently asked questions that authors are faced with are where do they get their ideas from. This seems like it has a pretty easy answer: “From inside our heads…”. But think about it: ideas do not simply appear in the space between your ears. Ideas come from the books you’ve read and the movies you’ve watched and conversations you’ve overheard. Ideas are born when someone sits down and considers a word, phrase or an image and and then asks him/herself: “What if?”
This is one of the most important questions a writer or author can ask themselves. In trying to answer it, ideas are expanded upon and stories are born. So our first writing exercise is centred around ideas and asking ourselves: ‘What if?’Is that all, you ask? You could do something like that in your sleep. Well, no. There’s a second part to this writing exercise, I just haven’t got around to explaining it yet.
As aspiring writers, we all know that in order to write a good story we must know as much about it as possible. The only way to find out as much as we can about what we’re writing is to ask ourselves questions. The basic questions include: “When?”, “How?”, “Where?”, “Who?” and any others that you might fancy. By asking these questions, we can expand on an idea and determine how far we can take it.
Writing Exercise 1 (Part 1):
Find an image, a quote, a phrase, a song etc. that interests you. Think about it for a while and then come up with an idea by asking yourself: “What if…?” You should write this idea down in one sentence without making it too complex, the more simple it is, the better.
Writing Exercise 1 (Part 2):
Take the idea you created in Part 1 and ask yourselves the basic questions. Feel free to get creative and add more. Remember, it’s your idea and the way you choose to answer each question makes it more unique and more a part of you so don’t hold back.
What if the sea level rose swallowing up 75% of the land people once inhabited?
How? – A science project gone wrong sped up the progress of global warming.
When? – A hundred years after our time.
Who? – Our story is based around a boy named Sky and the girl he calls Lea.
Twist? – The twist in our story is that Lea is the modern day version of a mermaid. When scientists discovered what they had done, they tried to genetically alter human beings so that with time they would become amphibians, able to survive both at sea and on land. This went terribly wrong as such things tend to do…
This is simply an example and a somewhat shoddy one at that but I’m sure you get my point. So try the exercise and repeat maybe three or four times to get the hang of it. This way, this sort of exercise becomes a habit and an important one at that.
I hope everyone finds this writing exercise both helpful and fun. Until next time everyone!
K, the Popinjay.