How to prevent your well from running dry

And keep new and fresh ideas bubbling to the surface.

So many times, more than I like to admit, my well of ideas dries up like a desert. But, then when I least expect it, BLAM, a new one hits me upside the head.Jean Cogdell Bitmoji image hit with rake in head

For instance, at dinner the other night a friend shared how much her grandson loved my book, A Reluctant Little Prince. She explained which character he loved the most and why. As I lay in bed that night, savoring her wonderful compliments, BAM, a new children’s book clobbered me.

But we can’t always wait for divine inspiration. There are way too many dry spells in between.

Neil Gaiman quote about writing your story

So, how do we keep the ideas flowing?

Thanks goes to Now Novel for a few terrific suggestions on how to keep the well of ideas overflowing…

Book ideas: 12 inspiring sources

Here’s the cliff note of what I learned…

  • Look to the Gods. Not praying and waiting, but check out various myths and superstitions are good fodder for a story. Have a favorite myth? Try rewriting it in the current day.
  • Historical events. Use for backstory. Rewrite events into your story.
  • Documentaries. Use a documentary to broaden your knowledge. Turn it into fiction by asking the “What if” question.
  • Journaling. Now I’m not good at keeping a daily journal, but I do keep an idea journal.
  • Central Idea section of Now Novel. Can’t wait to try this.
  • Search Archives. Historical and ancestry archives can be a treasure trove. Now Novel gives a couple of links to get us started. I can get lost in Ancestry stuff.
  • Inspiration from your favorite author. Again, ask “What if” and see how an idea can grow.
  • Find a new experience. Hmm, this one I’m going to think about a bit.
  • Short stories. Write or read a short story and try to develop it into a novel.
  • What if. We all know about this question. But try asking it about movies, as well as stories and see if a new idea comes.
  • Music. Not for me. I find music distracting instead of inspiring.
  • Creative constraints. This is used in short stories and flash fiction with word counts. But try writing about a character with constraints of some sort. Again, this one will take a bit of thinking for me.

Thumbs up Now that's a great ideaAs always, the article above gives us a lot more information about finding story ideas. I hope you’ll click on the link and read all about her 12 idea suggestions. Plus there are a few great links to check out.

 

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Can you really recognize a liar?

We all like to think we can spot a lie from ten paces. But can we really? How many times has someone fooled you?

Ernest Hemingway quote - A writer of Fiction...

Why am I asking about liars? Because knowing how to spot one, is helpful in writing. If we know how people recognize when someone is lying we can use those signs for a villain. The body language of a liar is great fodder for a story.

Add body language of a liar to round out your antagonist.

 So if you bullshit meter needs fine turning then check out this article on this subject…

10 Easy Ways to Recognize Liars by 

Here is the show don’t tell, tips I gleaned about liars.

  • Fails to make eye contact. Looks at the floor, ceiling or hands. Or, make eye contact with an unblinking stare.
  • Avoids using contractions.  “I did not…” instead of “I didn’t…”
  • Answers question with a question to stall for time.
  •  They fidget sometimes excessively with ear, nose, or pockets, purses or play with keys etc.
  • Turn away from the speaker, blink rapidly, smile falters. Cross their arms which is a sign of being “closed” to the subject.
  • Runaway talker. They might embellish their story to make it more believable.
  • Gets angry. Becomes defensive. Tries to divert attention on to another person.
  • Changes the subject to avoid answering a question.
  • Eyes are the big tip-off. Right-handed people will look up and to the left if trying to remember. If trying to make something up, they look to the right.
  • They may blink rapidly or rub eyes.
  • Sweating,  blushing, trembling and difficulty swallowing may indicate a lie.
  • Don’t miss the micro-expressions. A fleeting smile, a furrowed brow, etc. Although quick, these can tell you a lot.

Knowing the signs of a liar is great fodder for a writer.

What do you think? See anything to help with your writing?

Do you have any tips about the body language of a liar? Or truth teller?

How do you describe a lying snake of a villain?

 

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Do you know how to seize a reader’s curiosity?

With a breath and a pause.

Have you ever watched a daytime soap-opera? Now I think the shows are referred to as daytime drama. LOL

One of the most memorable moments were the ominous music indicating something had or was about to happen. To find out what, the viewer had to sit through a commercial.

How do I know this? Okay, I confess. As a young sleep-deprived mother, I watched a few daytime dramas. In the afternoon I rocked and begged my baby to take a nap while watching Days of Our Lives.

So you may ask, what does this have to do with my novel?

Use a dramatic pause to hook the reader. Make them want to turn the page and continue reading.

No need to trick a reader. Just drop in a dramatic pause that makes them think, wonder and want to hurry on.

I loved this post by Janice HardyWait For It: Hook Lines and the Dramatic Pause. After reading her post, I rewrote my first page. There were a few places I could add a pause to hint at what was to come.

Have you tried or considered adding such a pause?

Did it help your hook?

Do let me know what you think about the article and the idea. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

PS: The dramatic music always woke her up. So, I spent a lot of time rocking. LOL

Go the F**k to Sleep by [Mansbach, Adam, Ricardo Cortes]

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How to improve your manuscript

Want to give your story an edge?

Start with a little housekeeping. Housekeeping Bitmoji Jean M Cogdell

Okay, I’m nowhere near ready to submit to editors. But I like to plan. To have my ducks in a row when the time comes.

And where better to start than a great list of words to cut provided by Sheila M. Good.

scissors cutting words Jean M Cogdell

Start cleaning up your manuscript before turning it over to an editor, read Sheila’s tips and tricks.

PS: You know how much I love lists.

Look, Look, And Look 

What more?

Click – Instantly Improve Your Story

 

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