New Story Techniques
How does one generate new and exciting ideas for one’s stories? Here are some suggestions:
- Use personal experience to spark new and authentic story ideas. Personal experience helps to add verisimilitude and uniqueness to any piece of creative writing because it is based on first-hand knowledge of real-life situations.
- Keep a file of blog, newspaper and magazine articles and stories; also, short notes on television documentaries and programs that have caught your eye. Use them to kick-start your thinking on a related subject.
- Use a notebook or digital device to document interesting bits of conversation, behaviour, dreams, personal encounters.
- Explore new ideas by brainstorming a subject with friends. Free-associate root aspects of that subject by introducing nouns and verbs not usually associated with it. Note the new relationships that emerge. Those may spark new ways of looking at old ideas.
- Ask that powerful idea-generating question: ’What if…’. Combine it with an unexpected or opposing idea. If, for example, your subject is about genetic cloning, you could start by asking: What if the DNA of prehistoric animals was found trapped in millions-of-years-old resin and used to bring Jurassic era animals back to life?
“New story ideas are all around us. We just have to know how to spot them.”
- Mind-map a subject or idea by writing down its core meaning in the middle of a blank page or screen. Create a series of related ideas in bubbles around that core idea and draw links from one to the other. Link unrelated ideas together and see what that sparks.
- When writing a scene, make it multilayered by filtering it through all five of your senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch. Note the dominate sense operating within the scene, then replay it in your imagination, using a different sense. Note how it changes your approach to writing the scene.
There are many ways to generate new story ideas. Personal experience, keeping a file, brainstorming with others and asking the what-if question, are just some of them.
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