Idea Finding

What’s holding you back from a writing career? Is it a lack of time? No skill? I doubt it. I think the thing that stops most folks from a writing career is that big white rectangle staring them in the face. A blank page. A blinking cursor.

Where do you start? Where do the ideas for a great story come from? It really doesn’t matter if you want to write a letter to your grandma or the next Great American Novel. The Idea comes from a single thought. From there you build and expand until the thought has a theme and a purpose.

But there is still that darn blank screen.

Okay, don’t despair. I have some ideas on how to get started. First of all, don’t sit in front of a blank screen. Yup, I mean it. Go for a walk, do the dishes, make a cup of coffee. The thing is, you rarely will come up with an idea if you command one to come to you. Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come when you are so busy that you can’t even take the time to write it down?

Ideas are elusive, sneaky, little things. They like to pop in when they aren’t likely to be noticed. Some even show up when you’re sleeping. That’s hardly a way to run a business, just waiting for inspiration to hit, is it? Stay with me here, this is how to get started.

So by now, you have your coffee, and the dishes are done. There are side benefits to this process, see? Get a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Okay, I know we’re back at the beginning now. All you need to do is write the first word that comes to mind in the middle of the page, not too big, you will need the space later.

Say the first word you thought of was red. That’s hardly a start of a great story, but draw a short line and attach things that red pertains to. Blood, ladybugs, your favorite shirt, the color of your neighbor’s car, and so on. All kinds of random words will all be attached to your first word with little lines.

Great, the page isn’t blank now. On each of the words you thought of, draw more lines and write as many things as you can that pertain to those words. Some of the words will trigger many more paths, others will fizzle out. That’s okay, you’re sorting things out. Continue to draw connecting lines and more words. Make a mess of things. Use arrows to connect things that belong together. No erasing, and no editing is allowed, just keep writing.

When your page is full, and you are forced to write smaller and smaller just to squeeze all the thoughts in, sit back and take a look at your map. You will be able to see paths and connections all over the place. Many of your words will have nothing at all to do with the word red.

Here is an example of only one path on my sheet of paper. Red, blood, hospital, nurse, needle, drugs, addict, crime, money, work, briefcase, executive. Executive is a long way from red, but that’s where it took me on that particular path. I’ll do the same with the other paths on the page. Red, ladybugs, spots, stripes, jail, criminal. Red, flowers, roses, thorns, blood.

Now I’m going to circle or highlight my favorite words on the page. Here’s the fun part, now you get to go for a walk or do something fun. It’s not necessary to think about your words, but if they pop into your head, don’t chase them away. You may have a Muse starting.

When you get back from your walk, take a look at what you’ve got. If you want to expand more, you can take your highlighted words and start a new page with each of them. I usually don’t need to do that. By now I’m starting to get a story idea.

An executive with a red sports car is evading criminal charges for importing flowers infested with ladybugs. Gosh, he could be responsible for shutting down the entire agricultural system. There could be economic collapse and famine!

Have fun with this exercise. Allow the ideas to percolate as long as you need to. Make more word maps when you get stuck. Try to draw connections between the different word paths. Take more walks and get the dishes done. If nothing else, you will be healthier and your kitchen will be clean.

Two Free Novellas

New Release!

Arnold and Blaize By Nancy Cupp are free e-books available on instafreebie.

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 7.59.41 AM.pngcoverThese two novellas are an Introduction to Driving in Traffick. Find out how Arnold gets to be a nasty bad boy, then read Blaize for the flip side of the story. They both tell the story before the story from different points of view.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan is a world war II story. I usually don’t get drawn into war stories, but this one is well written and compelling.

It is the true story of a young man’s journey through the war. He goes from innocent bystander to underground savior of the Jews to a soldier in the Nazi army. Pino Lella becomes a spy when his parents force him to join the German army in order to try to keep him safe.

As a driver to one of the top Generals in the German Army, Pino gets first-hand information that helps the Allied forces. His experiences are gut-wrenching, to say the least. As a spy, he is alienated from his family and friends and must face his war alone.

This book is easy to read, and a real page turner. It really makes you think about the effect of war on individual lives. This is history, but still relevant to current events. I learned more from this book than I ever did in history class.

 Click for a direct link.

Read tons of new books–cheap

Did you know that you can get thousands of books to read for free? No, I’m not talking about the library. I’m talking about the Kindle. Okay, this isn’t quite free–wait–don’t go away! With Kindle unlimited, you can choose from thousands of titles for $9.99 a month. That’s less than one print book, and it’s portable and convenient.

With Kindle unlimited, you can choose from thousands of titles for $9.99 a month. And you can try it for free for 30 days.  That’s less than one print book, and it’s portable and convenient. No more lugging heavy books around.

You can either get a Kindle e-reader   starting at $59.99 for the plain version (that I’ve been using for years) or you can get a much fancier model. (click the kindle above to go there) But if you don’t want to invest in a kindle, did you know you can get a free app for your phone or computer? With the phone app, you always have a good book to read in your pocket. Remember the last time you had to wait at the DMV to renew your driver’s license? Boring!

Even if you decide not to get Kindle unlimited, the Kindle or the app on your phone will save you a lot of money over print books. The typical print book selling for $12.95 (plus extra for shipping) will only cost you around $2.99, or often times it will be $.99. Really, can you afford to not have a Kindle?

What I really love about Kindle unlimited is that I have a set budget for my book habit. No more wanting to read that new book that’s out, but having to say no because I’ve already spent too much on books. As long as the book is enrolled in KDP select, it will be available for free on Kindle unlimited. (you have probably seen the $0.00 price for kindle unlimited users.)

The library is great, but you have to wait for new titles to show up if they show up at all. With Kindle unlimited, you get to be one of the first to read the new books when they come out.

Here is the link to check out the program.

Why limit yourself when there is a huge library of new titles to choose from?