How to Come Up with Fresh Story Ideas When Your Well has Been Tapped Dry

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500  pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and  I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s works is all I can permit myself to contemplate.
—John Steinbeck

I  know that it seems easier to make that extra pot of coffee, read that good book, that you have had  in  storage  for  the  last  ten years, and suddenly  decide to make the kids that Halloween costume by hand, than it can be to make yourself sit  down  and  write.  Believe  me, I have been there.
Here  are  some brainstorming techniques to get your brain pumping again and churning out ideas.
1)  If  you  are  having  trouble  coming up with characters  or  even a story line, try developing an action scene. One good scene to kick off your  book can get the rest flowing. Develop the characters and story line around that scene.
2)  Come up with a problem to solve. Is your main character the class clown or the brainiest kid in school. What type of problem would your character face in his or her normal life? Write your story around  the  problem and a unique way of solving it.
3) For character development use common sense. Use what is in front of you.
Look  at  your family and friends and see if they remind  you  of anything. My first Shakespearean teacher  reminded  me  of  a  caveman or a husky walrus  because of his whiskers. Does your Uncle Arthur have whiskers, wear glasses, and walk with a little bit of a waddle? Turn him into a know it all beaver or a store clerk, at a bookstore that sells books that you can actually climb into and live out an adventure.
Does  your  sister have a talent for jumping rope and  blowing  bubbles,  with  purple bubble gum? Maybe the heroine for your next book could do the same.Is their a kid in your neighborhood that is always  getting  into trouble? Hmm, do you think that the creator of Dennis the Mennis might have known one?
You  can use your family and friend’s talents and their  physical  characteristics to come up with tons  of  characters.  One  hint  though- if you choose to make Uncle Charlie a slug or Aunt Emma a  rhinoceros, keep it to yourself. They may not be  thrilled  with their induction into literary history.
Inspiration is all around you, waiting for you to reach  out  and  grab for your next storyline or character. Use stories from the news, jokes that your  neighbors tell you, the quirky things that your dog Buster does in the morning.
One  final  word - stop criticizing what you have written down. In these first stages, no one cares if  you have misspelled words or if your grammar isn’t perfect. Just write. The rest will follow, after your story is done.


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