Have you wondered at the conception and formation of great story ideas? Then join me for a peek into the inner workings of author’s minds (scary stuff). Every author I’ve ever spoken to says that ideas come from everywhere. Not helpful for us sticky beaks who want the low down, so I dug a little deeper.
Natural curiosity is a given with authors, but it’s a skill that needs developing to get it to a point where topics are not only examined, but the branches of information that lead out from them are also followed. It doesn’t matter that the journey starts on a main arterial road, because authors are adventurers who don’t just want the tourist brochure experience. They want to detour down side roads to see where they lead — and might even take a few foot tracks too.
What I’ve found is that creation is an organic process and those who wield it successfully allow it to direct their flow of
exploration. They embrace curiosity and allow it the freedom to meander wherever the most intriguing trail leads to uncover rare treasures of inspiration.
The techniques used to uncover inspiration are as varied
as the authors themselves, including:
* Reading anything remotely related to the subject matter, with not only the possibility, but the anticipation of wandering into another fascinating, but completely unrelated
* Listening to what other people say. It’s amazing how much information can be garnered by taking in every word and asking questions. Don’t just smile and nod. If you are fortunate enough to come across someone who is an expert about a topic, be it surfing or training cats, then take notes. They’ll be thrilled that you’re interested.
* Eavesdropping and taking note of conversation topics, intonations, colloquialisms and street slang.
* Observing people is one of my favourite pastimes. Watching a discussion from across a crowded shopping mall can be enlightening. Body language reveals so much more than about the relationship of the conversers than mere words.
* Taking note of the details that aren’t obvious at first glance, like the way a footpath lifts over a tree root, or the thread hanging from the waist of a child’s jumper. These facets of daily life are recognisable to readers and lend authenticity to
* Imagery is a powerful tool and it doesn’t have to be a picture of exactly what an author envisages. I often have several photos of people who have one or another trait
that my character has. It might be a moustache or dress.
* Visiting actual locations in the story, or even places that are similar to imaginings.
* Asking oneself questions about what is happening in a situation. Why do people behave that way? What do they hope to achieve? Where are they headed? All of these questions can be applied to any avenue of investigation and lead to the creation of characters and adventures.
Carla Caruso (romantic comedy genius) shares the process of her latest creation.
“I’m currently writing a romantic comedy mystery series involving a neat-freak professional organiser, who de-clutters homes and offices for a living, and keeps getting
caught up in messy mysteries with a hunky builder.
“I’ve always been fascinated by professional organisers, perhaps because my mum is a perfectionist Virgo and the family home always looks like a magazine spread!
“I am the typical bowerbird-type writer who picks bits and pieces from everywhere to pull together a story, from reading media articles to seeing something on the TV, to being inspired by snippets of conversations with friends. And I always have my mini notepad handy to scribble down any ideas that are sparked.”
So go on, get out there and feed your curiosity!
What has inspired your curiosity recently?
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