Writing Fiction: 4 Unusual Ways To Find Ideas Which Inspire You

Bored? When you’re writing fiction, it’s easy to lose inspiration. You’re not in the mood to write. Worse, you feel like trashing your current novel and forgetting all about fiction forever.

You need fresh ideas.

Writing fiction: find ideas

Ideas are everywhere. In this post, Public Domain & Self-Publishing: Be Like Disney, Craft A Bestseller, we looked at gaining inspiration from the public domain, because:

… public domain materials offered two essential elements for bestselling fiction.

They are: story, and emotion.

A batch of new novels entered the public domain this year. Does anything you see inspire you?

I’m not suggesting that you republish any of the books. Many people will do that, so no need to be part of the crowd. Nor do I suggest that you use any of the characters, but reading the classics might inspire you.

So let’s look at unusual ways to conquer boredom and become inspired, keeping story and emotion in mind.

1. Journal about the things you enjoy (and anything you dislike)

What do you enjoy? Conversely, what do you dislike? Try journaling about these things.

Here’s why. Enjoyment and dislike are emotions. Anything which arouses an emotion in you is valuable. You can use the emotion for your fiction.

2. Read biographies and other nonfiction

Whenever I’m stuck on a novel, I read a biography; most recently, Elizabeth Longford’s Wellington: The Years of the Sword. Biographies (good ones) reveal how real people behave; what they do in tough situations.

A good biography will get you thinking, and feeling. Before you know it, you’ll come up with some wonderful ideas.

3. Write your own biography: focus on emotions

What’s your earliest memory? Mine is sitting on a wooden floor, aged two or three. I was playing with oranges. Emotion? That’s harder… One of these days I’ll have to explore that memory further.

Memory and emotion are linked in the brain.

I should add a proviso for this process. If you’ve suffered trauma, please do not try this without help from a therapist. While mining your memories and emotions helps an author of fiction, it can also be triggering.

4. Review your Kindle highlights for inspiration

Do you add highlights to your Kindle reading? You can explore the highlights for all your books on your Amazon Kindle notes and highlights page.

Here’s a snippet I highlighted from John Vaillant’s The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival:

Amur tigers have been known to eat everything from salmon and ducks to adult brown bears. There are few wolves in Primorye, not because the environment  doesn’t suit them, but because the tigers eat them, too.

When I read that, I shivered. So I highlighted it.

If I were currently writing a thriller, I might want to explore the feeling that that snippet inspired. The feeling is visceral, and disturbing—perfect to explore in a thriller.

Emotion matters when you’re writing fiction

If you want to improve your fiction, explore your emotions, or your memories, which will trigger emotions. You’ll become inspired, developing fresh new ideas for your fiction.

Need help with your fiction? Contact me for mentoring. I conduct private classes, and one-on-one mentoring.

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