Inspiration Station – Crafting New Ideas

Over the years people have asked me how I get ideas for my stories. There are thousands of different ways, so this new section “inspiration station” will aim to help you look at the world a little differently and help to foster the creation of ideas for your stories. What does that mean? It means a trip into my strange, outlandish, unusual, bizarre, and sometimes completely random thought process. 

For our first lesson together, I have picked this wonderful picture of an older lady. 

The first thing you need to do is take in the details. Her wrinkles? Her dark head covering? The desert in the background? Her eyes? Hair? The lack of a smile? 

Which of these things sticks out to you the most? 

Now start asking questions about what you see. She is in the desert. Is it summer or winter? Will that make a difference in the temperature? She is wearing black. Why is she not roasting in the sun? Is it cooler than it looks, or is this a special type of fiber? She has many wrinkles. How old is she? What might she have seen in her lifetime? Love? War? Famine? Is it possible the sun had prematurely wrinkled her, and she is actually younger than she looks? Is she a nomad, or does she have a permanent home? If you could sit down and ask her for life advice, what would you ask? If you asked her for her best advice, what do you think she would say? How did she learn this advice? Was it handed down to her, or did she learn it the hard way? 

Now, take your questions, give the lady a name, and write her story from your questions. Maybe all you want to know is how she lives her normal day. Maybe you want to hear how she fell in love and raised children. Perhaps you want to hear about how she never had a husband or children but was able to help others that did. 

Whatever the case, try writing out the answers to the questions this woman makes you ask. 

For me, I would write about a nomadic woman, who grew up in a hunter-gatherer family and even had a few flocks of goats and sheep. They moved where the food and water were with each season. To me, her eyes hold a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. I want to pick apart what it is and how life’s trials helped her grow, and flourish. Mostly I want to see what makes this older lady smile. 

What about you? What questions do you have? What stirs your well of creativity when you look at this?