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Every author has experienced, or at least dreaded, the curse of writer’s block. Sometimes this is in the midst of a longer work, but often it’s because we don’t know what to write about. My next blog series focuses on getting ideas on topics to write about so that you always have a story to work on.
Keep The Ideas Coming One: READ
Some of the best sources of new ideas are from other materials you read or watch. Not just books or TV shows; magazines, newspapers, blogs, journals, the nightly news, anything can give you ideas for a character, a setting or a conflict you can turn into a story. And it’s important to expand your reading and viewing material outside the genre you write, to give yourself the broadest selection of ideas.
I just read an article on how life might exist on a comet. It may never blossom into a story, but it’s intriguing enough to put in my notepad app for ideas. I have gotten other ideas that have turned to stories from 1491, Guns, Germs and Steel, American Lion and other books I’ve read. My writing is typically science fiction and fantasy, but none of these books are. Any type of book can give you an idea for any type of story.
History is a great source of ideas, and comes with the added advantage of detail. George R. R. Martin famously pulls ideas for his Song of Ice and Fire novels from history, which gives his crises and characters an element of veracity they might lack if events were entirely imagined. Little true anecdotes can weave dimension and depth into characters and events in your story that your readers will appreciate.
Suffering from writer’s block? Worried about a lack of new ideas? Watch the news. Read. Take a history class. Read the featured article button on Wikipedia. You’ll be surprised how many ideas start flowing.