Tag: inspiration

Where Do Ideas Come From?

Thriller author Nicole Wilson let’s loose the secret to the age-old question, “where do you get your ideas?”

By far, the most popular question asked of authors, and, by far, the least favorite question for authors to answer. It’s not because we don’t enjoy sharing our experiences and tips to you; it’s because we barely know the answer ourselves! There’s a mysterious click in our heads that says, “Hey, this might be kind of cool.”

But, as I’ve listened to other authors explain how they get ideas and as I’ve considered how I get my own, I’ve come to a different conclusion (but possibly just as frustrating): they come from everywhere!

Honestly. It’s a matter of training your brain to pick up on oddities. “Why did that guy just dart out of the ATM line?” “What would have happened if that person didn’t stop despite a green light as the other car blew past?” “Why is this girl standing literally two inches from me and sticking her chest out?” (That last one actually happened to me over the weekend.) When you’ve picked up on something, don’t shrug it off, and don’t settle for a one-word answer. Really explore it.

For example, the one that happened to me over the weekend: Why is this girl standing literally two inches from me and sticking her chest out? Think of a few possibilities. Maybe she’s feeling insecure. Maybe she wants to assert her superiority (she was a full foot taller than me). Maybe someone paid her to stand next to me and draw my attention away from what was happening at the front of the store.

Ah. And this is where stories begin.

Read the rest…


Nicole Wilson spends her days planning for disasters and her nights writing about them. She lives in a small apartment with her husband and two cats, all who contribute to her writing endeavors. Nicole has written many books and short stories and is at work on more. Three of the short stories have been published online, which you can find on her website at www.nicolewilsonauthor.com


Obscure Folklore and Inspiration

One of my favorite quotes goes something like, “a writer is just someone who has trained his mind to misbehave.” I love that. Storytellers take bits and pieces from all the things we know and mash them around to create something new and cool.

For those of us who write fantasy, this means we have a wide buffet to choose from. Still, it can take some work to find those little-known bits of awesome. I’ve done some of the legwork for you. Here are a couple articles about obscure fairy tales and mythological creatures.

  • http://screenrant.com/grimm-fairy-tales-movies/
  • http://listverse.com/2013/03/16/10-unusual-little-known-fairy-tales/
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-tatar/10-lesserknown-fairy-tale_b_6755354.html
  • http://www.wonderslist.com/lesser-known-folklore-creatures/

Share your own in the comments below.

(Six) Techniques to Inspire Creativity

We all know that creativity is hard, especially when you are staring at a blank paper. Here are a few techniques that should help getting those creative juices flowing, inspire problem solving, and be a lot of fun!

Where do ideas come from? Well, its 10% magical inspiration, 20% luck, and 70% creative problem solving. I”™ll admit there is nothing more exciting than that initial flash. You see something that sparks your brain and in just a couple heartbeats you have a powerful scene, an intriguing character, or an entirely new world.

And it”™s all yours.

It”™s beautiful.

Now what the hell do you do?

That”™s where the 70% comes in. How can you get from brilliant flash to fleshed out story idea? How can you get those creative juices flowing in the first place? Here are six basic starting points, or things to remember. This isn”™t “12 steps to a more successful sandwich” or some other pop-psychology, self-help book. This isn”™t an exhaustive list of rules that will make you the next J.K. Rowling or Steven Spielberg. These are just concepts that have helped me (and many others) get from blank sheet to story draft without wanting to jump off a mountaintop.

1. Clich̩Ӫs

Whenever you are thinking creatively, write down your ideas in a sentence each. Don”™t stop at one, force yourself to write down five, six, even ten solutions to your problem. Most of them will be crap. Some of them will be bizarre. A few might even cause more problems than they solve. That”™s totally cool. Remember: the first three things you think of will be what you saw on TV last night, or read in a book last week, or heard on the radio. Simply cliche. Solutions four and five will start to be original, but might be unorganized or confusing or bizarre. It”™s only after you”™ve let your brain spit out these misfires that you force your creative self to come up with something original. You”™d be surprised what your mind can do when you challenge it.

B.T.W. ““ that technique came from Walt Disney. I”™d say he knew a thing or two about creative ideas.

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Where Good Ideas Come From

Where do good ideas come from? It’s an age old question that boggles most of us. Artists (including writers, photographers, designers, etc.) constantly struggle to come up with good ideas to keep their work fresh, challenge themselves, and produce great stories. But if we don’t know where good ideas come from, how can we foster our creativity?

In this talk from Steven Johnson, given at TED, he discusses this very thing.

 People often credit their ideas to individual “Eureka!” moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the “liquid networks” of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s long, slow hunch to today’s high-velocity web.

Steven Berlin Johnson is the best-selling author of six books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. His forthcoming book examines “Where Good Ideas Come From.”

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12 Ways to Spark Creative Ideas

This is a great blog post from www.createdbyspark.com. These are eight simple ways to get those creative juices flowing. These tricks will work for anyone who wants to be a little more creative, not only certain mediums. So no matter how awful creative block feels, push through it and be intentional. The next break through is just around the corner.

A sneak peak:

1. Expose yourself different design mediums

This is probably the easiest, most effective thing we can do to spark an idea. We know that staring at a computer screen all day long can really wear you out after a while. Refresh your creative brain cells by: going to a movie, seeing a band, drawing thumbnails on paper, or painting a picture. [More]

2. Try color combinations (or any combinations) as the starting point

This isn’t just about colors for designers or visual artists. If you are a writer, put two different characters in a scene. A musician could try two styles of music. Whatever your medium, let the strangeness of the combination push your creative boundaries. Even if you don’t use the scene, you will train your brain to think differently.

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