Monday, November 10, 2008

More about finding ideas

Sometimes when I'm reading, I feel like I'm procrastinating and just looking for an excuse not to be writing. In fact, reading can be a useful tool for a writer. Reading can take the form of research for an article, story or novel. Reading can also energize your brain cells by teaching you something new.

Read through magazines and newspapers for interesting pictures or articles. Clip these out and save them in an "idea" file. Several of my own published stories are the direct result of articles I've read. My first published fiction story, "Iceman," saw its inception in a National Geographic article about a frozen mummy found buried in the snow. Looking at that mummy's picture, I imagined what it would be like to be the young fiancee left behind. Using the information in that article to give my fantasy story credence, I created a world in which a woman finds the frozen body of her long lost lover.

Another of my fantasy stories, "Ashley of Ashland," was the direct result of my reading an article about a man from Ashland. In the article, he related a folk tale which was a "Cinderfella" type of tale. My own Ashley was a minor wizard who conjured images using fire, but he did spend a lot of time staring at the cinders.

Use your imagination while you read. You never know what you might create. Use the articles as starting points for "what if" scenarios. Don't be afraid to let your imagination run wild. You can always rein it in after you do your initial brainstorming.

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