Story Sparks: Finding Your Best Story Ideas & Turning Them into Compelling Fiction by Denise Jaden
Denise Jaden explores the concept of inspiration in her latest book, Story Sparks. She gives practical advice on finding story ideas in everyday life, how to nurture the creative power you already have, and suggests small exercises that can help spark a great story idea.
This book is for every writer who has ever struggled with the question of what to write next. Here are some of the tips she offers in the book.
Combining Two Ideas
“A fresh idea is simply thinking of something in a new way or combining two concepts in a unique way.”
I completely agree. I have found that I can’t start writing a story unless I have had a second idea mash up with the first one. It’s the combination of two ideas where the story starts to come to life. As Jaden writes, “It often not a single idea, but the connection between two or more ideas that gives us our ‘aha’ moment.”
It Can Take Time
“All you need is the question, focused energy, and time to let the question percolate.”
A lot of writing can stem from a single question. But we need to allow ourselves the time to really contemplate the question. In this book, Jaden breaks down her philosophy into the S.P.A.R.K. acronym. This part of the equation really reminds me on my personal writing philosophy of T.L.C.W.
Get Inspired By Social Media
“Skim your Twitter or Facebook feeds. Could any posts make for interesting character traits, motivations, or plot obstacles?”
What a great idea. There is already a lot of drama going on in social media. It could be a rich treasure trove of ideas, if used properly. Just make sure you don’t write about the people specifically. Take ideas and transform them into original stories with different characters and you could have a winner.
Finally Say It
“Think of all the things you wouldn’t say in real like but would like to say. These are all plot ideas you can experiment with.”
Writing can give you the power to say something you wouldn’t normally say. Take advantage of that.
There is no such thing as Writer’s Block
“Writer’s block is taking the easy way out. It treats a lack of productivity as an ailment . . . Writer’s block is not usually the inability to write, but rather just a fear of not writing well.”
I like this analogy. We should always be able to write. Fear might be an obstacle, but it is one that we can overcome. It’s like pain to a runner. You can push through it. You can write through it.
At the end of the book, Jaden provides several lists that can help you come up with character names, places to set your scenes in, motives for character behaviour, obstacles for characters to overcome, and story themes you can weave.
It’s a great book with practical exercises, advice, and tips for writers who need to find some inspiration. Also, if you liked this book, you can also look for her other book on writing, Fast Fiction, that is perfect for anyone attempting National Novel Writing Month challenge right now.
My List of 2017 Reads – with links to detailed posts on every title I read this year