My guest this week is Tom Rizzo, author of Last Stand at Bitter Creek, a historical adventure novel.
Generating fresh ideas is important, no matter what we do. But, for a writer, they represent the fuel of the creative engine. When the idea tank hovers around empty, it's time to head in new directions to kick-start the creativity process. Generating fresh ideas can be challenging, but they're all around us if we remain observant, aware and curious.
Open a file and write the headline: 30 Ideas to Write About in the Next 30 Days. A friend of mine uses this technique. “You sit there until you get 30 ideas,” she said, without a smile. “I don’t move, I don’t get a cup of coffee, I sit and think, and start writing.” Personally, I find it frustrating, but it might work well for patient types.
Read blogs, news sites, comments posted by others responding to online articles, Letters to the Editor of daily newspapers. There's often a wealth of ideas in various sections of online foreign newspapers. Browse through print magazines, too—any of which could offer a treasure trove of ideas.
Meet with friends over coffee, lunch, or a sports activity, and share viewpoints on recent news stories, or business ideas, or off-the-wall topics. You’ll be surprised how simple conversation can evolve into a rich source of ideas to write about.
Surf Internet sites for ideas. When gathering material for my novel, LAST STAND AT BITTER CREEK, I spent my Internet time learning everything possible about the mid- to late-1800s. Historical accounts, and true-life adventures sparked dozens of ideas. Not all usable, of course, but many of them adaptable in some form or fashion.
Drive somewhere. Travel to the heart of your own city, or another community. Park the car. Walk. Listen. Observe. Drop by a local coffee shop, or corner restaurant, and either eavesdrop, or start a conversation. Ordinary, and not-too-ordinary, people are among the best resources you’ll encounter when you thirst for ideas to write about.
Buy a copy of ATechnique for Producing Ideas. This 62-page booklet, by James Webb Young, is an advertising classic that provides a simple five-step process to generate ideas.
These are just a few ways to fire your imagination, to think sideways, or outside the box, in an effort to peek at life, and your surroundings, through a fresh perspective. You’ll soon find that patterns start to develop. Ideas begin to cross-pollinate. One idea leads to another to another. Getting ideas is a process of discovery.
"Your job isn't to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up," writes Stephen King, in On Writing.
Simply stated, throw the rules out the window when you’re on the hunt for ideas to write about. Unleash your acceptance mode, and new avenues will open.
TOM RIZZO is the author of LAST STAND AT BITTER CREEK, a historical action-adventure novel set in the mid- to late-1800s.
The creative writing bug bit Tom early in life when he worked at a small radio station, writing news, sports, commercials, obituaries, and anything else that needed written.
His writing career includes several years in radio and television news reporting, and as a correspondent for the Associated Press. After a few years for Wall Street firm, he worked in advertising, and public relations.
As a freelance writer, Tom published hundreds of articles, developed sales and marketing copy, and conducted workshops on communication skills. He now writes fiction fulltime.
“I can’t imagine not being a writer.”
He grew up in central
and lived in Great Britain
for several years, where he prowled the side streets of London
and southwest England,
searching for literary treasures in dark and dusty bookshops. He now calls ,
home. Houston, Texas
The mission is compromised and Bonner is entangled in an intricate conspiracy. Ambushed and left for dead, he recovers only to learn his battle for survival and justice has just begun.