Monday, February 10, 2014

Your Next WIP

It's a fantastic feeling when inspiration strikes. I tend to get most of my story ideas when I can't write them down. (Most often while sitting in traffic, which is why I've started carrying a tape recorder in my car so I can record myself dictating character conversations. All of these are extremely awkward to play back later, especially when I imitate voices. But I digress.)

But what do you do when the ideas just aren't flowing? How do you jump-start your writing process, whether it's beginning a fresh manuscript or figuring out how to wrap up a current one?

I know a lot of writers use music or Pinterest. My background is in journalism, and I tend to find a lot of inspiration in news stories, several of which inspired my current WIP. I look at breaking news, trend stories, or sometimes imagine how certain events could have played out a different way. Weirdly enough, I also use Google maps street view to find settings in the Northwest -- the only place I've lived, and the only place I feel confident enough using as a setting! (Plus, I love it.)

Sometimes I'll even skim my old junior high and high school diaries, which are now incredibly valuable as a YA writer. I wrote down conversations I had with my friends, which helps remind me how deeply certain conflicts affected me. Most cringeworthy, I'll read the parts where I waxed on and on and on about the three boys I was crushing on that week.

Where do you get your inspiration?


  1. I get tons of inspiration when I go on walks. Maybe it's the fresh air? And the scenery, since most of stories take place in the woods. That's a great tip about looking through old journals. I do have one from my junior high days. Cringeworthy is right- it's a little hard to read! :)

  2. I so wish that I had HS journals to read through. That's such a great idea. I get most of my ideas while driving, too. If I'm not listening to an audio book on my way to/from work, then I keep it silent so I can just let my mind wander. After the initial idea, it usually takes a good amount letting stuff percolate in my brain before I know if there's really a story there, and then more thinking/daydreaming until settings and characters starting popping to life. So basically, I spend A LOT of time alone in my head. :)

  3. I get inspiration from news articles and thoughts of, what if? Sometimes I just sit back and people watch. I try guessing what they're doing and a a good story might pop up. A lot of daydreaming happens too once I get a story line going! :)

  4. "the three boys I was crushing on that week." Haha.

    Going back to actual writings from high school is a hilarious idea. Actually, as I was packing for my recent move, I found a box of keepsakes which included cards and old letters. Reminded me of so many things from that stage.