Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where do Writer's Get Their Ideas?

Where to Find Writing Ideas

Ideas, Ideas, Everywhere—Except in my head! Growing ideas from real life.

Are you stuck for something to write about? “The world is so full of a number of things, I think that we should all be as happy as kings,” is a quote I remember from long ago. And it’s true. Wherever you are, the world is full of ideas for you to write about. Look out your window what do you see? Could those snow banks glistening with diamonds be used in your current works in progress? What about that bank of flags casting shadows in the brilliant white of a winter afternoon. You could write about shadows – put them in your story.

Angelic watched the shadowy figures moving as though attached to nothing but the souls of the joggers. The shapes morphed into real people as they passed her and then stretched out into indistinctive outlines in the brilliant February sun. Comic balloons of warm vapor breaths mixed with the chill to form wordless conversations in the air.

I received a copy of a new, to me, magazine in the mail today. Big, bold, white letters across the top of the cover jump out from a clear robin’s egg blue sky REALM , Britain’s Rich Past and Historic Present. The cover also has a turret from a castle I can only assume belongs to the Queen as there is a formally dressed guard in his blaze red top coat, black pants, boots and two foot tall black hat. A golden strap under his lower lip holds the hat in place. No wonder they don't smile. The lawn appears to have patches of white clover here and there; ivy grows up the front of a lower level of the turret. It’s an awesome picture with tons of fodder for my muse.

Accompanying this beautiful magazine is a small booklet, page wise but not content wise, titled simply “England’s most beautiful Villages – volume 2. The beauty is apparent on the first page and each new place evokes a draw to my ancestral home. My grandmother came from England could that be why? The roses in pink and rich burgundy red growing up the face of one of the homes tugs at my heart. Is that why I love roses? The cottage pictured is in Cadgwith, a working fishing village in Cornwall and is filled with reminders of its maritime tradition. Thatched roofs look as though they were draped with a dark cloth on the whitewashed cottages scattered across the sloping sides of the cove. A long shingle beach is lined with the bright colors of fishing boats drawn up to be beached on more level ground until they go out on their next fishing expedition.

Here you might find a fishmonger and seafood bar selling the day’s catch. The heart of Cadgwith village life is the Cadgwith Cove Inn. Over 300 years old, the inn is filled with relics of smuggling days, and regularly hosts local folk musicians. Can’t you just see a story being born among the grassy knolls and black slate harbor?

The water is a nearly blue black shade of danger hiding the jagged boulders from the sailors view. Bright pink and red flowers and spiky green leaves add cheer to the sinister looking canopy of thatched roof melting down to shade windows and doorways of a small cottage a few yards away from the brick embankment guarding it from the piracy of the sea. No one sees Nelle Catherine Smith peering through the lower shuttered window waiting for the boat that will take her across the ocean to meet Louis Charles Deringer. Did she know him then, or only dream of him or someone like him? No matter, she was tired of her sheltered life. She was tired of planning a union with a man she had no interest in. No, she would not be bought or bartered, sold like so much cattle. She was leaving that dark starless night, no matter what fate awaited her in Nova Scotia or the sea between Cadgwith and there.

Surely you can find something to write about by browsing out your window or through a magazine. Try it! and Write Like the Wind!

1 comment:

Linda Rettstatt said...

This is so true. I was out with friends recently and one of them commented on the people in the hotel lobby and cafe who were all on cell phones. She mused that perhaps they were all talking to one another.

Over the next five minutes, I laid out a complete story line for a book based on this one idea. One of my friends was amazed that a story came to me so easily. But I think as writers, we're tuned in to what's happening around us, what we see and hear, and how it can be shaped into a story. Ideas are everywhere. We just have to be open.