9 Ways to Find the Perfect Story - Kathryn C. Lang

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9 Ways to Find the Perfect Story

Writing can be a tough gig. When your muse packs up and takes a vacation, finding inspiration can be almost impossible. Whether you are writing fiction in any genre or tackling an order for 20 how-to articles, the idea for the story may already be right before your eyes.

1. Look at your business cards – the ones you receive from other people. Do you remember the encounter? What were the people or the event like? You could write about how to be success at a business conference or a mystery about a murder at the conference. Just let your imagination take off and there is no telling where you might go.

2. Talk to your children. They can regularly be a source of inspiration (good, bad, and ugly). If you don’t have any of your own then seek out a neighbor's or relative's. Kids aren’t limited to reality the way grown-ups are. If you can learn to see through the eyes of the child then a world of possibilities will open up.

3. Ease drop. Go to the local diner (or courthouse) and take a seat. If you leave there uninspired then I’m not sure you can be helped until your muse comes home.

4. Go to a community meeting. The local council meeting or political rally is sure to be primed with energy. That alone should get the gears to turning. If not, then revert to #3.

5. Read your past journals. Most writers I know have kept a journal since before there was time. Reading things that you wrote from twenty or more years ago should give you some great ideas (not to mention a few good chuckles).

6. Make an outline. If you can’t get your mind around the complete idea at the moment, then make an outline of a story. Use the outline to form a query and send it out to some magazines. When it is accepted, your muse will have come home and the piece will practically write itself ;).

7. Twist the truth. The news papers and the news can be a great source for writing (just look at the Law & Order series). Use a piece of the truth to start your next novel or to answer the question of how to solve a particular problem.

8. Look to your family. A quick search through your personal genealogy might reveal some amazing characters (or if you are like me it only takes a look around the table at Christmas). Use the history of your family to start the beginning of your story (but change the names of the characters to protect the innocent – or at least yourself).

9. Go through the photo album. A trip years ago could spark a great travel article or a wedding photo could give you the how-to idea you’ve needed.

When the ideas aren’t coming to the front of your mind on their own then you just have to go digging for them. The creativity is already there. It just takes something to jump start the process some days. It doesn’t matter how you get the juices flowing as long AS you get them flowing. Once that happens – just write!

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  1. 9 Ways to Find the Perfect Story · Business Card Information and Deals - December 21, 2007

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