1. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    Stuck for ideas?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by skeloboy_97, Dec 5, 2010.

    What does everyone do when they are stuck for ideas, either for a new piece of writing, or a continuation?
     
  2. Meche
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    Meche New Member

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    It depends how stuck. If I have a completely blank slate then I watch movies, listen to music, read books, that I like and are in the genre I want to write in to trigger my mind. If I have a concept then I usually have a brainstorming session with a friend and bounce around ideas till I get something I like. Or if all else fails I stare into space and daydream till something comes.
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That may not be the best advice, but when I don't have new ideas or don't feel like writing, I just don't.

    As for continuing with something, you need to be excited about what it is you're writing. That can come and go, and sometimes the best thing, for me at least, has been to take a break from it. Or just try to see where you're going. Brainstorm, as has been mentioned.

    I walk a lot for exercise, and it's surprising (or maybe not) how often I get ideas when I'm out in nature.
     
  4. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    I always find the sea very inspiring, so I sit by the waterfront to get new ideas :)

    Other than that, I'll just put pen to paper and see what I churn out. For instance, from about the 3rd to the 8th chapters of my novel will be edited to about a page or two when I get around to that, because I was so stuck on exposition my plot couldn't come to a head. My theory tends to be 'write enough and you're bound to come up with something good eventually'. And I did.

    Or I'll start babbling to someone (usually my boyfriend) about my characters/setting until inspiration strikes.

    Seriously though, even if you can't go to the beach, go out into the sunshine in some way. I've never had a good idea in a dim room :)
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I sometimes take a day off - or other days I just write either filler in my story or a short story investigating an area of my main story.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'll let you know when it happens. My problem isn't coming up with ideas, it is finding time to write them, or deciding which one to work on next.
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read non-fiction. Usually history, philosophy, mythology or psychology. After one page of that I'll have about 10 ideas for stories. The ones that survive love-at-first-thought get to stick in my mind and brew. When in need, I pull some of them back up and have a fresh look. See if they're still interesting.
     
  8. JetMasta
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    JetMasta Member

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    I usually re-read what I already have, or listen to music and put scenes to them. For example 'falling leaves' by billy talent, I would imagine a villiage surounded by tree's and people going missing, then someone trying to find out what happened, or maybe someone already does. I donno, thats just what I do. :D

    BTW, if you havent listened to this song before, u should. Its pretty awsome.
     
  9. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    Incubate. :)

    Go for a walk or lie down and close your eyes. Put yourself in the story and have a look around. Explore. If you've done a good job of world creation, you're guaranteed to find something to write about.
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It really helps when you can get prompts. For example, if you can somehow obtain a random business card or other thing that you could use to develop into a character. For a conflict, think about your life right now and imagine what the worst-case scenario would be right now...for example take the most stressful thing that happened this year and imagine if every single thing had gone wrong (Murphy's Law style)..that can be a conflict....if you want something broader, think of the thing that bothers you most large-scale, whether it be corrupt politics or insensitive people or whatever...think "if that mindset was held by the people in power and went totally unchecked, what would the world be like?" and go from there...Hope I helped!
     
  11. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    What I like to do is take something that I encounter and exaggerate it, stretch it out and then think what obstacles and tricky turns I can put in there.

    For example in real life there's a guy I know who is always saying tall-tales, always trying to impress people with these made up, cock and bull stories. When we go drinking he wears a flash suit he bought 2nd hand and makes up that he is a doctor or lawyer or some hot-shot business exec to impress women. This guy is adopted. He has known since he was about 10 years old. He's pretty funny but usually in a butt of the joke kinda way.

    I got my inspiration for my novel im working on thorugh this guy. I stretched it out a little - what if he doesn't find out he is adopted but learns his deceased father isn't his father. He will like my friend start imaging who he could have been, what his real family could be like and will start talking himself up. But lets exaggerate it - lets have it so that my main character actually starts believing in these made up identities and convincing himself that these imaginary father figures are real.

    He still has his mum anyway. Except no because thats too easy - let put an obstacle in there - his mum who is a widow is actually a woman with lesbian feelings that she wishes to explore and is unable to see her son needs her.

    Thats what I do - take something small, exaggerate it and twist it to create tension and conflict.
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It doesn't happen to me any more, because I have files of ideas I'll never live long enough to write. But here's a suggestion: Go to a library and look at books of photographs. Or old National Geographic magazines. Or any collection of pictures, really. Don't read the captions, just look at the pictures. Find a picture of a person who looks interesting, in an interesting setting, and start wondering who they are and what they're doing there. Imagine what his life is like. Soon that person becomes a character in your mind, and has needs that must be satisfied, and bang, you have an idea. I've done that, and found lots of ideas that I never would have thought of otherwise.
     
  13. Indivisible
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    Indivisible Member

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    I listen to music, close my eyes and visualize ideas. Just listen and start to imagine an image or a situation from the music, instrumentals help the most with me, and expand from there.
     
  14. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    I have said this in other posts but here:
    Listen to music. At least in my case, the lyrics that I cannot understand is replaced by something else, or maybe the lyrics is vague and the mind fills in the details automatically. I partly write from songs. The story is always absolutely different from the lyrics, so there is not need to worry about stealing ideas etc. Songs also influence the mood, telling me when to change it.

    This might not be the most controllable method, but it is the most effective in my opinion if the data is analysed first.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  16. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    Very true, Cogito.



    But when I do run out of ideas, I do one of four things.

    1. I google current politics. When I find something controversial, I try to examine both sides, and envision a future or past where the issue has been escalated. For example, I just read about about more and more children are opting out of vaccinations. What would happen in the trend continued until a large portion of the population was unprotected, and many viruses began killing large numbers of people in the modern age? It's not a plot, or a story, but it's an idea that I can build from.
    Cloning/ethics debates are also quite entertaining.

    2. I take a nap. Seriously, sometimes all you need is a good refresher. A little relaxation might do wonders for your mind. Also, try eating a lot before you go to bed. Maybe you'll dream something interesting.

    3. I revisit old ideas. Maybe parts of my old ideas can be given new life or inspire new stories. Sometimes taking a character and moving them to a new setting can open up interesting new possibilities.

    4. I watch people. But not in a creepy, stalker-like way. Sometimes people are interesting. Sometimes they're depressing and make you hate humanity. Either way, that pregnant mom patting her stomach and carrying groceries on the sidewalk, then nearly getting hit by a bus, might give you an idea. That would have made me think. . . "The mom nearly died. . . what if she'd been hit? What would happen to the baby? It would be kind of cool if he gained the ability to foresee disaster later in life..."

    Obviously, that idea is quite generic, but you see my point.
     
  17. TokyoVigilante
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    TokyoVigilante Member

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    I find if I persue the writers block to aggressively, I just aggrevate the problem. Ifim stumped I just let things sit, lightly think about other elements until the solution comes naturally.
     
  18. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    This is kind of what I do, only it usually isn't so much an exaggeration, as it is a complete alteration of circumstances within and surrounding it (and sometimes the the event itself is altered); and it's usually not derived from someone I know personally, usually an archetype that I try to stretch and bend until it becomes the basis for an interesting character or plot.
     

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