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Mother Hen's Bin Sept 2008



I’ve Searched But I Can’t Find Ideas


Were you looking in any particular drawer for a story idea? No? Hmmm…


The funny thing is, you’re probably waiting for me to crack a joke right now, but that won’t happen because ideas can be found anywhere and everywhere, even in drawers.


Don’t believe me? Well, here goes:


1- What’s in that drawer? Have you been watching someone at work, at home, at your friend’s home, unlocking and placing something inside then immediately locking it again? Why? Do they have a drawer disorder?


2- Who does the drawer belong to? Did you discover a locked drawer in the attic of the new house you just bought? Curious as to what’s inside? Scared to find out?


3- Are you searching for something in particular? Was there rumor floating around that grandma has taken you off the will? Hmm…curious to find out if that’s true or not?


4- What if you opened up the drawer and there was a note addressed to your spouse? Would you open it? What would it contain?


5- What if you opened the drawer and there was a tiny person in there, and I mean REAL tiny. Where did they come from? What do they want? Why the heck is he/she in your drawer to begin with? Who put them there?


As you can see, from one simple drawer you can allow your imagination to go overboard and have fun with it. You need to open up to new possible and far out story situations at times to find one on a more serious note.


For example:


Number 1-3 above each can have an element of mystery to them. That drawer could hold the key to an investigation. Or perhaps the detective is the one hiding some evidence in there to protect someone. What about poor old grandma? Did you discover a plot that someone was preparing to off grandma and point the finger at you?


Don’t be lazy. Use that awesome writer’s imaginative brain of yours and toy around with questions, because as silly as they may be, something will strike your fancy sooner or later.


Stuck again? Go back to your childhood and answer some of these questions:


1- What was I most afraid of as a child?


2- What stories did I like to read?


3- Who were my friends back then?


4- What was my experience at school?


5- What did I want to be when I grew up?


6- Who were my favorite and worse teachers?


7- Who did I hate and why?


8- Did I have any idols?


9- Did I fantasize about my future? What did I foresee?


10-How has my childhood neighborhood changed?


Bringing back fond, or perhaps not so fond, memories of your childhood will spark a story or at least a memoir/essay to write and submit somewhere.


Again? Okay…go outside and sit at the park or in the front of your house and do nothing but observe your surroundings. Oh yeah, make sure to have a pen and notebook for this exercise:


1- What color is the sky?


2- How do the clouds appear to you? Do they have any shapes? Are they dark? Light?


3- Is there a wind? Does the wind have a particular sound as it whizzes by you? Do you get goose-bumps when it touches you? What is the wind forecasting?


4- Are there any animals around you? Are they making any noises? Where are they? What are they doing?


5- Are there people nearby? How are they standing? What is their body language telling you? Are their arms flinging around in the air giving you the impression they are angry? Do any of them have accents? Do they speak with a shrill, high-pitched voice? Baritone? Describe their physical appearances.


Now, I won’t do all of your homework for you so you can forget about that, but these are just some things to jot down and remember so when you are writing about the outdoors one day you will have on hand something to bring back that day’s memories on your surroundings and the descriptive details you noted.


Okay, okay, just one more.


The old and trusted ‘What if’ factor:


Look straight ahead…yes, now…what do you see? Now ask yourself three questions on this object. For example, I see a vase with flowers in it, so my three questions would be:


1- What if these flowers were meant for someone else?


2- What if I returned them and realized they were meant for my roommate but it was my boyfriend who sent them to her…anonymously.


3- What if my girlfriend went missing?


From a simple vase we now have created a multitude of scenarios to enhance and embellish some more.


With DETERMINATION and PERSEVERANCE you will find a storyline to work with. Give up and you risk losing an opportunity to gain new characters, new worlds, and new situations for your readers to enjoy. After all, there are so many readers out there with different tastes you need to add spice and toppings every so often and offer them something unique and totally in your own writing voice.


Now go open up that drawer and find your storyline.


Make sure to catch Mother Hen's Contest. A drawer is involved.


“There are as many stories as there are ideas in your head. You just need to put them down on paper.”

- Lea Schizas