*Originally Published on August 8th, 2016 on joelhovell.com
As an aspiring creative writer, have you struggled to make original content because you’re lost in a world of confusion? Don’t worry, all people who possess the power of the pen have been in this situation during the early days of their career. I was in the same pair of shoes as yourself about four years ago when I first began to write Snow Wolf; my first published novel that you can find on Amazon. Most importantly, as with any pursuit, the reason for your inexperience in creating an original book idea is because you’ve never practiced before. Once you do practice and gain the experience necessary to form ideas spontaneously, the process will become much easier for you. In the meantime, here’s five methods to jumpstart your literary project.
1.) Read Books From Various Genres
I cannot stress the importance to read books while you write stories of your own. Concentrate on how the author describes a particular scene. Examine how the conversation between characters flows. In direct correlation with the act to understand how to develop new stories, pinpoint the subject of the book. What occurs in for instance romance novels or in science fiction? Note these observations in a notebook or a document on a computer or phone. Read beyond the confines of the targeted genre of the book you wish to compose. For example, I write specifically for the young adult category for personal, philosophical reasons. However, am I prevented from reading books that are directed at adults such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby? If rules that prohibited reading books outside your chosen category, this would be a totalitarian existence to say the least. In other words, expose yourself to different types of stories in order to become well rounded with various aspects of writing fiction.
2.) Watch People In Public
When I stress engage in people watching while in a public space, such as your local library or at the mall, I don’t mean to stare at others like you’ve lost control of yourself. In fact, you might not be required to spend surplus time to do this. For instance, your friends have invited you to a party at a mutual friend’s house. When you decide to spend a moment in silence to sip your drink or eat some of the delicious food prepared by the host, start watching people then. Examine their body language as they converse with fellow partygoers. How are their words phrased? What cultural aspects play a role here? What types of decorations or what is entailed in the environment of the scene? The target here is to understand the basic psychology without enrolling in an expensive undergraduate class or reading about it from a textbook. Just examine your surroundings more often than usual (or maintain this level if you’re already an observant person) to realize how people interact in daily life.
3.) Research The Latest Current Events
Here’s an easy method to create an original story: watch or read the news. Although lately, current events has been riddled with stories about death and destruction more than usual; do it anyway. For example, when the Ukrainian Civil War and preceding protests in the capital city of Kiev started almost three years ago, I asked myself how I could change the factual events into a fictional tale. I allowed most of my novel in development, Duo Sniper, write itself with the exception of juicy details to spice the story more. I realize many are dismayed by warfare and would prefer to write more peaceful, romantic stories. In this case, what are your favorite actors and actresses who’ve managed to carve out a life together? Take their life stories and change the details along with their names and you’re set to start writing. In fact, you can dive headfirst into past historical events too. There are no boundaries to your creativity. Use real life events and fictionalize the story to your tastes.
4.) Use Scenes From Your Life Story
Maybe you wish to write a story that depicts events closer to home. Why not write a novel based upon your life? Few authors throughout the ages are guilty of never using their personal lives as foundations for a story. Was there a particular scene in high school when you had the opportunity to date the homecoming queen or the captain of the football team? Horrific images of battle scenes while deployed overseas? What about a vacation to a tropical getaway where you met someone you knew was beyond your reach? The story doesn’t need to be exact with what you witnessed firsthand. The main criteria, should you use events from your past, is make the story partially unbelievable though grounded in reality. Your life no matter your physical age contains numerous stories, they were merely overlooked until you decided to become a writer.
5.) Converse With Other Writers
I realize the art of placing words on a page is a solitary one, but don’t forget the human tendencies to require socialization. Join an organization, whether in your city or an online group, to discuss your projects meant for the whole world to enjoy; at a price of course. I would expect fellow members don’t write about the same types of stories in a specific genre, so share your work in the sense of generating new ideas for subsequent titles. In the near future, maybe you can collaborate with someone and write a book you both would enjoy to publish together. Besides the social aspects, surround yourself with writers who are more experienced than yourself, but please do the same for someone less skilled than you. Writers are not competitive people in the sense where survival of the fittest is commonplace in other industries.
I sense you are face palming yourself, yes, creativity is generated this easily. Don’t be harsh on yourself, I spent four years learning these methods on my own. Remember, nothing in life will be handed to you on a silver platter. To achieve something worth the effort, hard work and patience are keys to success. I understand being a writer is a difficult profession to gain financial independence in, and there are multiple industries where success is more easily achieved. There’s the possibility you might require a day job in order to publish more books and to pay for most, if not all of your bills. Don’t worry amigo, keep that job if you need it to survive financially. The main thing to realize is you’re in the process to establish multiple streams of income. Regardless of who you are, I wish you the best on your upcoming career as a creative writer. And please remember to subscribe to my email list below and check out my book Snow Wolf, which is available on Amazon. Have yourself a wonderful day!