So You Think You Can Write-Part 1: Ideas

writing 101

You might have been wondering where I’ve been for the past month. I spent the month of July working on the 5th draft of my novel Love Notes. I also got to go to a writing conference in Chicago and had a really great experience from the trip.

Now that my latest draft is finished, I’m taking a break to let my draft sit before I start editing. I decided that from now until December, I want to do a weekly blog post series about writing.

I believe that anyone can write, in the same way that Anton Ego learned that anyone can cook:

Not everyone will make the New York Times Bestseller list or become the next JK Rowling. However, a great writer can come from anywhere and I think everyone can learn a little bit about how they can improve themselves as writers, even if it’s just limited to writing in a journal or blogging. The real purpose of writing isn’t to make money or to become famous. We write to understand ourselves and the world around us.

But the question is if we want to write, where exactly can we get ideas?

Start by taking a notebook everywhere you go. I recommend a pocket-sized notebook or a composition notebook, something that can be easy to carry around and take with you wherever you go. Use a pen that can write easily or a pencil. You can start by just writing about your day, no matter how boring it may seem, or just go somewhere and people watch.

Write down what you see around you, even if it’s just the stuff in your house. Try to describe everything that you see. Then open up your other senses. What do you hear? What do you smell? What kind of food can you taste that’s nearby? What is the surface you’re sitting on feel like? How do your clothes feel on your skin?

You can also write about whatever is on your mind. Is something stressing you? Is there something you wish you can tell someone, but you can’t spit it out? Do you want to ramble, but don’t want to post it on Facebook or Twitter? Use your notebook to let it all out.

These are all basic ideas to just get you on the ball for writing in general. If you want to write a novel, the seeds for a possible book are going to be found in these seemingly ordinary observations.

If you’re not sure where to start as far as story ideas, try using classic literature as your inspiration. One great example of a reimagining based on classic literature is the Jane E. series by Erin McCole Cupp. This three-part novella series is inspired by Jane Eyre, but places the Gothic Romance in a cyberpunk world. I highly recommend it. However, I don’t recommend ripping off whatever book series, TV shows, or movies are popular right now. These things are great as a starting point, but don’t just copy and paste plots you like without contributing anything original. Nobody likes a plagiarist.

You may not think your life may be all that interesting, but just think of the “what if’s” in your life. I came up for the concept of Love Notes from a “What If”: “What if I actually stuck things out with my piano lessons and dedicated my life to playing classical music instead of writing?” I also combined this “What If” with my recent experiences in dealing with anxiety. In many ways, I was basically writing Love Notes as a way to show myself how far I’ve come.

The best writing advice as far as finding ideas comes from Jenna Moreci, YouTube vlogger, writer, and Cyborg Queen: “Write the book you want to read.” (I highly recommend watching her YouTube channel. She has great writing advice and she’s hilarious!) If you like mysteries, then write a mystery. If you like sci-fi, write sci-fi. And if there’s a book you always wanted to read, but you can’t find it, like say, a sci-fi novel that doesn’t take place in a dystopia, try writing it out yourself.

My challenge for you today is for you to get out there and write down every single idea you have in your head. Just get to writing today. Next time, I will talk to you guys about planning a story out once you get an idea that you really love.

 

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