Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Inspiration, Part II

Keep your eyes open for story and character. Do you have old diaries or journals or stories written during childhood? Pull them out, dust them off, and read. How old were you when you wrote them? Milk these for inspiration. Memories of people, places, and times offer a treasure trove of possibilities. Maybe the memory doesn’t focus so much on an event as a feeling or an image. Play with it. Embellish it. Draw it into your literary world.

Traveling is perfect fodder for inspiration. New sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures stimulate the Muse. Notice the sound of the howling coyote or crashing of the waves. Listen, really listen, and try to put into words what you hear. Use a metaphor or simile to better clarify the description of the sound. You don’t have to travel far from home. A trip next door or to the grocery store can provide sensory foundations for a story. Look around. Ideas are everywhere. We just have to be cognizant of them.

Write. Freewriting about anything will eventually provide a tidbit that can be used in a story.

Place an idea on the backburner of your brain and let it simmer. I’m at the point right now. As I polish a completed manuscript, I’m playing with the idea for a new story. I have been throwing out possibilities and rejecting them; then going back and relooking to see if the discarded ideas have a nugget of merit. I’ll repeat this process until something with possibility forms, and at that time, I’ll begin writing, brainstorming ideas.

Read a variety of books and authors. Notice how sentences reveal information. Look for ways the author dealt with basics, such as pacing, dialog, description. What did you like? Why? What didn’t you like? Why?

What inspires you to write?

Call for submissions for Young Writers

Imagine magazine invites students to explore big ideas on topics in the sciences, arts, and humanities. Half of each issue is devoted to a broad focus topic, showcasing activities that students can do now to pursue that interest, as well as career opportunities in the field.

Submission guidelines at 

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Faces. Lively, original approaches to the subject are the primary concerns of the editors of FACES in choosing material. Writers are encouraged to study recent past copies for content and style. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store, where you can also purchase a current issue.) Issues are also available at many local libraries. All material must relate to the theme of a specific upcoming edition in order to be considered (themes and deadlines given below). FACES purchases all rights to material.

Submission guidelines at

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