For Aspiring Writers

Explode With Ideas

Perhaps my absolutely favourite part of writing is coming up with an idea. A very common question is how?

Some ideas come after days of intense thinking, linking words with plots, characters with feelings, and conflict with resolutions, and some come more simply than imagined, but I think being a writer is about being on the go, always aware, always imagining, always inspired about the things around.

Here are a few ways I’ve collected to explode with ideas:

What if – perhaps the oldest, best, creative game

  • Read the newspaper to inspire ideas from headlines and articles – the first things in my writers notebook is a newspaper article, which is about a woman who bought her childhood home and moved back their with her family and talked about her daughter having the same feelings that she did when she was child – it was an amazing idea that could spring into a horror, the same events repeated in the next generation or a moving realistic fiction of reliving the past
  • Watch TV shows, movies and advertisements to adapt into new, exciting situations


  • Use poetry, quotations and phrases and develop them into titles – ‘revenge is a confession of pain’ was a great quotation to help me come up with ‘Nor Forgive, Nor Forget’ which was the beginning of a dark, dark story
  • Use several random words and combine them

Issues – outrage is a great emotion for writers

  • List characters who may share particular viewpoints on certain causes, e.g. abortion, the environment (however, remember, fiction is not a sermon)

See It – sit back and start the movie

  • List the first three things you wish to write about
  • Pick one and ‘watch’ for as long as possible
  • Start writing, without considering plot construction – writing free flow is great, raw emotion and thoughts are essential for writing to have feeling, and though there will be a lot of re-writing, there will surely be a few gems

Hear It – music is a shortcut to the heart

Character First

  • Visualise the person who pops into your head clearly, considering how they act
  • Re-creating who you know – give a different job and gender
  • Ask your character, ‘What is the worst thing that could happen to you?’

Noodling the Newspaper

  • Take an article, image or headline and ask a series of what-if’s

Opening Lines

  • Play around with opening lines and explore characters and situations it could lead to

Endings – leaving you with a satisfied ‘ah’

  • Visualise a climactic scene, let the emotions burst forth and see characters
  • Ask, ‘What circumstances bought the characters here?’

Quotation & Themes

  • Pick a quotation out of a list that inspires you to develop characters in relating situations

People Watching

  • People in natural situations can shape other characters themselves from personality and appearances, and can also help develop situations similar to the ones they are in


  • Dreams are full of emotion, original ideas – so record them for ideas


  • Read the back cover of a book or the summary of a movie on TV guide to give a starting point


  • Keep a list of names, occupations, traits etc to generate a unique character
  • Take an interesting line from a random story and continue writing it, using it as an opening line

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2 thoughts on “Explode With Ideas

  1. summerjune05 on said:

    Reblogged this on Personality Hub and commented:
    A nice long list about getting ideas for creative writing!

  2. Pingback: A Writer’s Gem; A Writer’s Notebook « WriteNow

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