1. Turn it around- Look at a well-known tale, fairy tale or historical event from a different point of view. Every story has at least two sides. As a stepmother, I have often wondered if Snow White’s stepmother could tell her side, if we wouldn’t have seen Snow White as a snotty, self-indulgent girl who ran away after being caught with a stable boy in the royal gardens.
2. Take a trip- Star Wars and the Wizard of Oz are both allegories. Place an historical event or political intrigue in another locale, time or reality, change the names and faces to protect the innocent—or the guilty—and you have a fresh take on an old story.
3. Walk in their shoes- When waiting to see the doctor or in line at the grocery store, observe those around you. Every single person has a story. Why is that man limping? Why is that mother so short-tempered with her children? Don’t make judgments, observe and let your imagination free.
4. Turn your negatives into positives- Like songwriters who turn their failed relationship experiences into hit songs, authors sock away negative events as fodder for upcoming novels. Simple irritations such as jury duty or dealing with coworkers to seriously painful events as loss of a relationship or a loved one provide realism for your characters when you plumb that reservoir of emotion.
5. Dive into your hobby- Use your hobby to provide depth to your story. Accurate details resonate with readers for successful novels. The saying “Write what you know” rings true every time.
6. Write what you don’t know- Find a topic that excites or intrigues you, research it and infuse that enthusiasm and passion into your hero or heroine. The antagonist can respond with an attitude of banal superiority and voila, instant conflict or basis for a contemptuous romance.
7. Humanize an event- A couple of my favorite authors, Steve Berry and James Rollins, take historical events and examine them from the viewpoint of an historical figure. Wrap a current conspiracy and real relationships throughout and they have top ten sales every time.
8. Wonder what if- From historical events, common folk or fairy tales, or your own memories, imagine a different turn in events. What if
9. Mix it up- Mix up different tropes to get a fresh story. Go crazy and write tropes, character options and settings/time periods on dice and let your muse choose your next endeavor. Even if you don’t use all the suggestions from the dice, it might give you a new direction to examine.
10. Play games- Game playing can spark creativity. Once Upon a Time, Gloom and Elder Sign enable players to stretch their imaginations to win. Play has always been a way to release your inner muse. Most of us repress them as we become adults and responsible.
11. Work it out- Give your brain a rest and work out. Take a walk. Go for a bike ride. Dance. Exercise increases your blood flow, improving your focus while allowing your mind to relax.
Whatever you do, keep writing.
Shifters & Spice (e-book 99 cents!)
Romance writer. Paranormal and contemporary. Mother of two and wife of perfect husband. Love the environment, travel and reading.
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