Aug 3, 2011

How to Get Writing Ideas

This week is dedicated to the Imagination Sparks Blogfest. Writers are sharing their favourite writing exercises on their blogs. It's not too late to join, simply add your name to the list at the bottom of this post. Post on your blog which creative exercise gets your imagination warmed up and visit the other blogs to see what they suggest. Some people are super organised and blogging several exercises, but you can do just one if that's what you prefer (we're pretty easy going here at Wagging Tales).

In my last post I blogged about a great way to get your mind in the zone to write by Tom Evans - check it out, there's a free audio!

On the weekend I attended a writers workshop (I've been sneaking in a lot of them lately) hosted by author Sue Whiting about writing for children. It was a great day, very productive, and I picked up a new writing exercise. Apparently Sue picked this one up from Markus Zusak (The Book Thief).

Here it is:

On a big piece of paper, a whiteboard, or even on your laptops (I used an app from the Mac App Store called SimpleMind) you write, in the top left hand corner your first idea or action for your character. It could be something simple and everyday, like 'doing homework'. If you look at the pic, you'll see the idea I started with was 'Kitty loses her mobile'. Kitty is an 11yr. old mystery solver from my novel DOG SHOW DETECTIVE. I'm looking for ideas for the second book.

The next step is to think of 5 things from that first idea, they can be 5 things that could happen next:

In case you're wondering, Spade is Kitty's Miniature Schnauzer, not some overzealous friend. Great, already you have 5 ideas, but from there, you add to EACH idea, 5 things that could happen next. That gives you 25 new possibilities! Here's a close up of 5 things that could happen after Jessica tries ringing Kitty's number:
Do you know what you do next? Yep, 5 things that could happen next of each of those. Then you spend a couple of minutes looking over your ideas and write for a few minutes whichever ideas you like. My idea from this is that the girls come across a body hidden in the overgrowth by the river.

Got an idea you want to share? Come on, sign on! Or checkout the blogs below for some more imagination sparks.


  1. Very interesting method. I will try this. Thank You!
    Blessings, Joanne

  2. I Mindmap using texta and paper.
    But I Love your application ...Mac App Store called SimpleMind.
    Cheers, Karen :))

  3. Love this Charmaine. And coloured bubbles make everything better. A veritable flowchart for the mind. So very very useful and something I could adopt for pb ideas which sometimes seem to go nowhere. Thanks Dim

  4. I love this! As a very visual person, it's totally up my alley.

  5. I hope your blogfest is a great success, C. It sounds like it can be a real boost to many writers.

  6. Great exercise! I'm looking forward to trying it.

  7. I love webbing! Very helpful when brainstorming!

    The Write Soil

  8. I like that idea. Might give it a go.