February 13, 2019– First, let me say a very happybirthday to my momma. I love you and thanks for supporting me in everything. You are the best, and I’m so glad you’re my mom.
You read the title of this post correctly in that your next novel or storybook could very well be sitting on your bookshelf right now! I’m not talking about plagiarizing or copying other artists work, I’m talking about inspiration. As authors, we own a ton of different books that range from fiction to non-fiction, to romance, thrillers, biographies, magazines, historical fiction, and everything in between because we read as much as we write.
A few months back when I decided it was time to pitch a children’s story to some agents in New York, I knew I needed some fresh material. I also knew that I made a promise to myself that in 2019 I would use what I have. Now, normally, I would have gone to the bookstore and bought a bunch of books for inspiration, but this time, I went to my well-stocked library and pulled a book off the shelf. I was determined to take an idea and make it into a story, and that’s precisely what I did. I can’t give you any more details on this until it’s the right time, but I’ll update this post with news from what transpired with the agents:)
So, how can you use what you have on your shelf to write a great story that’s your own? Here’s how:
Start with non-fiction. You’ve heard the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction and if you’ve ever thumbed through a newspaper you’ll know that it’s true! Use headlines from your daily delivery that catch your attention. Here are few that I’ve put in my back pocket for later use: Woman searched for 24 years for the daughter she was forced to give up, Kitty hitches 40 km ride to Grimsby in a garbage truck, and Spiders Alive-The eight-legged exhibition. Also, think about using some headlines from around the world, a quick Google search will help you find inspiration.
Page 47, paragraph 2, sentence 3– This is a fun way to start a story! Quick, go to your bookshelf and choose a book. Turn to page 47, paragraph 2, sentence 3. Here’s what I found from the book that I chose by following the above directions: Toe wrestling began in the town of Wetton in 1970. How awesome is that for a starter? You can do this with any book and with any numbers you choose.
Turn to professional publications– I subscribe to a bunch of publications that are relevant to writing and publishing and one of my favourites is Writer’s Digest. It’s always packed full of information and good advice and sometimes even an idea or two. Pick up your trusted magazines either digitally or the ones that are covering the sofa and flip through them for ideas. Here’s one that I picked up from the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest: Investigative reporting often involves tracking down reluctant sources… Are you thinking what I’m thinking? What about a story about a reporter who goes to get answers from a source and they end up running for their life? What if they’ve uncovered a secret that’s too big to keep hidden? What if the reporter finds out that the reluctant source is their spouse? And the list of ideas go on and on.
There you have it; inspiration for your next book is almost certainly lurking in the corners of your bookshelf! It’s up to you to find it:) Happy Writing! X LLB
January 9, 2018- We haven’t done one of these for a long time and we’re way overdue to have some fun; I love photo writing prompts! They certainly help me break out of writing ruts when the ideas just aren’t flowing. The picture prompt below has unlimited opportunities to write about; this photo can break into multiple genres. Your imagination is the only limit! Have fun with this and happy writing. X LLB
September 21, 2018– I love picture prompts! Picture prompts are images that inspire you to write creatively; they’re useful for a couple of reasons:
They get you out of your comfort zone. More often than not, the image won’t match what genre you usually write in. Today’s picture prompt is especially true for me because I’m not a fantasy reader or writer.
They help you focus. Picture prompts force us to focus on an idea, and they don’t allow us to write randomly. They provide the bones for a story and allow us to branch out from there. They give us a bit of structure to get started.
August 24, 2018- Are you up for the 30-day writing challenge that I’m about to propose? I promise that if you complete all 30-days, not only will you be more inspired to write, but you’ll accomplish a ton of writing, and you’ll become a better writer because nothing beats daily practice.
Ready? Here we go!
Day 1- Your favourite place
Day 2- What the world needs more of
Day 3- The best day you’ve ever had
Day 4- Dear Future YOU
Day 5- What are you proud of?
Day 6- What are you ashamed of?
Day 7- If you could meet one famous person alive or dead who would it be? Why?
Day 8- One Moment that changed your life forever
Day 9- Your biggest fear
Day 10- Your biggest accomplishment
Day 11- A life lesson and how you were taught it
Day 12- A surprising turn of events
Day 13- The worst day of your life
Day 14- If you could invent something what would it be and why?
Day 15- Describe the person next to you, in front of you, or behind you
Day 16- Who are you?
Day 17- What is your earliest memory?
Day 18- What does friendship mean to you?
Day 19- Who is your best friend and why?
Day 20- Your bucket list
Day 21- If you had one super power what would it be and why?
Day 22- Describe a place you want to travel to but have never been
Day 23- Describe your lunch as if you were a restaurant reviewer
Day 24- Write about time travel either forward or backward 1000 years
Day 25- You’re on a desert island, who do you bring and why?
Day 26- What is your weakness?
Day 27- If you robbed a bank what would you do with the money?
Day 28- Who do you love and why?
Day 29- Your arch enemy
Day 30- If your pet could speak what would they say?
August 1, 2018- Earlier last week I was chatting with a woman who I’ve become friends with who works at my local bookstore. She asked me if I needed help with finding a book and I told her that I was looking for a psychology book that deals with Borderline Personality Disorder. “Whoa, that’s pretty interesting! Is it for a new book in the works?” She asked with a smile. “You know it!” I said. We got into a discussion about her writer’s block, and she asked me for some tips about getting the creative faucet to turn on. Here’s what I told her:
Change your space. Change your environment. Use your opposite hand to eat, brush your teeth, etc. Change anything! I know I’ve harped on this a million times on this blog, but it can’t be understated! Change your space, and you change your perspective.
Pick up a book outside of your regular genre and read it! Doing this helps to expand your imagination as a writer, and it may give you a tiny glimmer of something new to write about! Do you usually read non-fiction self-help books? Why not pick up a copy of a cozy romance or horror story? It might just be enough to get your creativity flowing.
Think about a different perspective. Ok, everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Twisted Tales Series by Liz Braswell! If you haven’t put these on your To-Read list, you have to; they are fabulous! In her book As Old as Time, which is an interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, she explores what would happen if it was Belle’s mother who cursed the Beast! Right? I know. Here is a sample below of what the book is about:
Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns—a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern. But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose; intriguing images flood her mind—images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.
Holy smokes right? Why didn’t I think of this? Guess what? You CAN think of something like this! All you have to do is change your perspective. Let me prove it to you. I’ll give you some classic stories and how you can flip the view to write something entirely new:)
Little Red Riding Hood– Write from the perspective of the Wolf. What is his side of the story? What if he was more afraid of Little Red Riding Hood than she is of him? Why should he be afraid of her? What has she done? What if she comes into the forest wearing a wolf-skin cape?
Harry Potter-What if you wrote from Voldemort’s point of view? What happened in his life to make him the way he is? What trauma has he experienced in his life to become so evil? Of course, use this for inspiration only as I am not in the business of recommending copyright infringement. For creative writing purposes and to get the juices flowing, it’s okay to write about this. Just don’t publish it!
To Kill a Mockingbird– Write from the perspective of Boo Radley. What was it like for him to be a recluse and never leave his house? What happened to him to make him this way? Did he watch Scout, Jem, and Dill and think about what he wanted to say to them? What would he say if he could?
I think you get the picture! Here’s to your creativity! Keep writing:) X LLB
April 6, 2018- I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the writing prompt this week! It’s so creepy and interesting, and it’s given me a thousand different ideas for my own work. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Happy writing!
April 4, 2018- I love this! Female villains are their own type of fascinating because of the layers involved with telling their stories. Emotion plays a huge role and the differential course of action between male and female leads when it comes to being a villain couldn’t be more opposite. I’m very excited to tell you that my next thriller will cast a female villain as the main character! You won’t believe what she does… #thefutureisfemale
April 2, 2018-This is a really cool how-to infographic on creating epic characters. The info below is something that doesn’t need to be told to the reader, but rather, the writer should know these things about their character so that it will naturally bleed into their writing. Pick bits and pieces that you want to share and leave the rest to the reader’s imagination. The more you know about your character, the better and more invested your readers will be!
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