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Submitted on
February 1, 2010
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Fishing for INSPIRATION?
Your imagination is a pond that you fish your ideas from. Like any fishing pond, what you catch depends on what you've stocked your pond with and how much you put in there. If you fish for only the occasional idea, your little ideas have time to breed creatively until they overflow the pond, leaping right out into your hand -- and onto your keyboard. If you fish a lot, you will have to restock -- Frequently.

A Dry Pond = Writer's Block

What's in YOUR Imagination?

What do you KNOW?
What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have seen, done, or studied.

WHO do you KNOW?
Have you ever met...?

• A real Criminal?
• A real Hero?
• A real Romantic?
• A real Stalker?
• A real Witch?
• A real Cop?
• A real Private Investigator?
• A real Soldier?
• A real Stripper?
• A real political figure?
• A real rebellious Teen?
• A real ghost?
• Someone truly in Love?
• A real happily married couple? -- with children?
• Someone who Defied the stereotypes seen on TV?

What have you DONE?
Have you ever Experienced...?

• A real loving relationship?
• An abusive relationship?
• An obsessive infatuation?
• College?
• Camping?
• Driving cross country?
• Being a problem child?
• A corporate job?
• A fast food job?
• A foreign country?
• Military service?
• Using a sword?
• Magic?

What can you ADD to your Imagination?

The more you add to your pond – the richer and more creative your stock. For the best and most creative results from your imagination, throw in everything that catches your attention, from Saturday morning cartoons to the latest romance, to newspaper articles.

• Adding books and movies – will generate fun and interesting situations.
• Adding research – will add ACCURACY.
• Adding emotional experience – will add DEPTH.  
• Adding physical experience – will add REALISM.

Read everything you can get your hands on from non-fiction such as history and mythology to ghost stories, but most importantly, OBSERVE the world around you because THAT goes into your writing too. Do things! See things! Experience things! The wider the range of information and experiences you toss in your imagination, the wider the range of ideas you will come up with.

Give your self little Observation exercises to train yourself to write about them:
Describe exactly how it feels when your hand is sliding down a banister.
What does a wooden wall feel like as opposed to a stone wall?
Can you describe the carpet under your feet?
Can you describe the sound of your fingers on your keyboard?
What does water taste like?
Can you describe what eating a hamburger is like?
How is wearing a long skirt different from wearing pants?
Can you describe the clouds in the sky?
What does ice taste like?

Observe your friends:
Can you describe a smile?
How about a frown?
What does Worry look like on someone's face?
How is a Happy smile different from a Sarcastic smile?
Can you describe someone who is nervous?
How about angry?

Your Memory of all that you've experienced is the most important tool a writer has because ALL of it ends up in their stories. Keep your Memory sharp and well honed by using it as much as you possibly can. This will also keep you from making the fewest MISTAKES.

Think: HOW do you KNOW?
Do you actually Know -- or are you making it up as you go along? Where is your knowledge actually coming from?

• Books?
• Role Playing Games?
• Movies?
• TV shows?
• The Internet?
• First-hand Experience?

Knowledge is POWER and Experience is even more so! Someone who has never kissed isn't going to be able to write a kissing scene as well as someone who has. Worst of all, someone with experience will know IMMEDIATELY when the writer doesn't know what they're talking about. Once that happens, they're closing your story -- never to look at it again.

Hunting for the WHOPPER  
Every good fisherman knows to throw back the ones that are too small, so they can grow up and be worth catching later. The same goes for Ideas - throw back the small ideas so they can grow up to become Big Ideas.

Never ever Rush an idea! If it's too small to use – toss it back. If you try to make a meal (a project) out of a half-grown idea, you will only end up with a half-serving of what could have been something much bigger, juicier, and tastier.

The only way to catch Whoppers is to let your ideas swim around in your pond until they grow up to be Whoppers.

Stealing TEXT is plagiarism, but stealing Ideas is a physical impossibility. Seeing a cool idea and tossing it into your imagination is good for your imagination. New ideas add color, breadth, flavor, and texture to what's already there.

But! But! But! – BULLSH!T!
Every writer is different, with different things swimming around in their imaginations. You can give five writers the exact same idea – and even let them see each others ideas – and they will still come up with something totally different.

Case in point, VAMPIRES: Brahm Stoker, Angela Knight, Christine Feehan, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephanie Meyers, and Jim Butcher. Need I say more?

In Conclusion...
Keep your Imagination stocked and you will always have ideas swimming around just waiting to be caught!

DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

Ookami Kasumi

Looking for more Writing Tips & Tricks?
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1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014

This is a great article.

Inspiration for a story can come from many places. Also, sometimes I get ideas but am not sure will work so I made a list of ideas, and after a while it develops into something even better. Some ideas start to make more sense as a single story instead of in different stories.

And I liked the part about stealing ideas, it’s only wrong to steal the text of the story. And it’s true that, like the vampire books, people draw inspiration from others. And sometimes even create their own new idea or something that will give inspiration to others.  

Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
Another thing, sorry I'm asking you so many questions. I hope I'm not pissing you off. But during the sex scences in erotica, how do I write the moaning and groaning? Do I say ,"she moaned?" Or do I write their sounds as dialogue or something. This confuses me.
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Writer
The best way to learn this is by reading 'published' porn; as in BOOKS, and looking at how the professionals do it. Online porn is no good because its loaded with beginner mistakes.

Just so you know, writing the sounds as dialogue is something only beginners do.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
Thank you very much, I really appreciate this.
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013  Professional Writer
Glad I could help!
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013
I like to watch porn, where should I go from there?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Writer
The next steps after watching porn, are:
1) Shutting off the volume and replacing the dialogue with your own Out Loud -- while the movie is running.

2) Shutting off the volume and DESCRIBING what you're looking at Out Loud -- while the movie is running.

3)Putting that particular sex scene in a completely Different story.
IrishTemper Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Great advice! I especially enjoy the bit about little observations. It's all too easy to find a story that rings hollow because the world hasn't quite been fleshed out. Characters should have senses and emotions that play out through their expressions, behavior and interaction with their surroundings, rather than simply being hand delivered to the reader. =D
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Professional Writer
I agree with you, 100%.
-- I'm glad you liked my essay.
RepoGentleman Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013
It's a funny thing, really. I've read books, played games, watched movies and cartoons- and I've been to the deepest depths of the internet as well. Every story I know has inspired an idea; a fantastic idea at first, but the feeling fades. I have an incredibly hard time finding and keeping inspiration, even to the extent of wondering if I have a mental or emotional disability. I've had so many ideas, so many colorful scenerios playing through my head- but never do I find a story in all the chaos.
I do, however, enjoy the few writing tutorials of yours that I've read so far. If those are your personal guidelines, then you really know what you're doing- and I very much appricate your effort to help the writing community. Thank you.
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