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Sunday 22 May 2011

Ten Top Tips For Creative Ideas


1) Dreams
Not necessarily the whole thing, but an aspect from a dream that stays with you when you wake. Keep a dream journal — that will give you a place to go when you’re looking for things to put in a piece of writing. Try this even if you usually have boring dreams. Sometimes paying attention to your dreams stimulates them to become more vivid.

2) The news
Yes it can be distressing, but you will find it can also provide ideas for stories and images for poems. Whether it is on tv or in the papers try using a real life incident and writing a ‘what if’ version of it that turns the situation on its head.

3) Soaps
Really? Well, yes, just look at their plots lines or a specific character and how it might work in a different setting or context for you.

4) Listening
I love cafes, or the deck of a ship, because you get to hear all sorts of odd snippets of conversation between other people. Maybe one line of dialogue will inspire you, or part of an overheard phone call can help you imagine what the other half of the conversation is all about. Wherever you are look at it as a chance to collect material.

5) Visual Sparks
A picture is worth a thousand words, or at least enough to be the basis of a short story. A picture can be the spark for a whole story, or a whole series of poems. Take a famous one, like the Arnolfini Wedding, and write about what happened before that moment in the painting – or what happened at the reception afterwards.

6) Other People’s Words
Go to a large newsagent and browse the specialist magazine racks. From chicken keeping to model cars you will find features that could spark a story – maybe a chicken coop designed like a model car that the owner has spent five years building? If you never read gossip magazines, do so and make up a story that is even more improbable than Paris Hilton‘s ability to stay out of jail.

7) Your favourite book
What is the plot idea? Take it and shake it and rewrite it – change the setting, the period, the main characters sex or religion.

8) Your least liked book
You must have had one at some point that you abandoned or threw across the room – well use it as a template and make it better. If you railed against the stupid hero, rewrite him, or if the plot had more holes than a colander then plug them.

9) Movies
Take the elements of the current blockbuster and make it personal to you. What element of any Disney movie, or war film, could you take and build into a unique story of your own?

10) Music
Music stirs the soul, and the memory. Put on an old nostalgic track and take yourself back to that point in time. Write about who you were then and what with hindsight you might have done differently. Or, put on a piece of abstract music – classical or jazz – with no lyrics and see what story unfolds as you listen.

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