Thanks so much for sharing your tips and sources for ideas last week. What fun to read your thoughts and insights. I’d invite you all to review those comments from time to time, considering if one or more of them might not help you expand the ways you develop ideas.
For today, though, I want to encourage you to give something a try, and that’s an Idea Journal. This isn’t a regular journal. It’s what you use as the primary repository for your idea sparks. This is specifically an Idea Journal. This is where you jot down any and everything that can be a springboard for story ideas, characters, quirks, and so on. From one word, to an idea, to whatever you need to remember the flash of genius that hit you. A few examples:
- Names (I have a whole list of unique and interesting names from the booksignings I’ve done.)
- Things that move you. (Odds are good they’ll move others, too. And that emotional trigger can be the seed of a story.)
- Funny, painful, poignant moments. You don’t need to go into detail, just get enough down to remind yourself why the moment impacted you.
- Pictures from cards, magazines, newpapers, wherever.
- Quotes (with the source, in case you choose to use them in your book).
- Websites you find interesting or helpful.
- Understandings or That moment when the light goes on about something? Jot it down.
- Food. (Hey, entire series have been built around types of food!)
- Colors can spark everything from character traits (the big brawny guy who loves fuchia) or obsession (the women who only wears lavender) or even names for things (a rock band called Atomic Tangerine).
- Smells. Few things elicit emotion and memory like fragrances.
- Funny things people say or unique pronunciations. I always teased my dad because he pronounced wash as warsh, and satan as saintan.
- Drawings or doodles.
- A list of topics you want to write about some day.
And on and on it can go. Like I said, any and everything that will spark an idea. You may be surprised what an invaluable resource it will become.