Friday, August 2, 2013
I use a variety of things to spark my imagination for a story idea. I use writing prompts mostly, but I rarely use those ideas for longer works than what the blogfest word count calls for, because once I post it to my blog I consider it published. If its less than 500 words I may consider it for a short story theme, but 1000 words? well, that's a flash fiction, and hopefully a complete concept.
But a number of prompts have sparked story concepts for me: word chains, weekly/monthly prompt sites, inspirational quotes, song lyrics, people watching . . and hopefully one of the most unusual - TV commercials.
What does that mean? It's easy. We all know at least one good warm up exercise to get our brain geared up and ready to write. That one creative task that gets your imagination bubbling with ideas.
Here's what I want you to do:
Register your blog in the link list below to show you are going to try and participate. Sign up will be available from now until the end of the blogfest. If you'd like to use the image above to let others know about the blog hop - go ahead!
On the 1st of August (or there about - I'm not strict), post one of your favourite writing exercises that we can all try.
Read other people's blogs and try some of those exercises.
Around the 8th, do a follow up blogpost to let people know which exercises you tried and what results you got. Visit the other blogs to see how they went with the exercises. (we all have different time zones, so anytime that fits your schedule is good for me)
Get new ideas and make new bloggy friends!
Well, I don't have a tried and true warm up exercise to get me writing a new story. Shameful, I know, but what I do is stockpile story starts or concepts and go with the flow when I have time to write. Sometimes I get through an entire concept, sometimes I just add more "plot concepts" or characterizations when I have a writing session. I'd love to say I'm more dedicated than that . . But for this blogfest, I'll offer participants - and other blogger/viewers - one I've use for short stories that's kinda unusual. Or not - I've found once an idea is out there, it's not so unique after all.
But . . I've had a few story starts by watching commercials. Yep, you read that right - TV commercials. With a commercial, you only get a partial story, like a flash fiction or poetry piece. There is a scene; no background story, no getting to know the characters, just a fast paced scene. Beginning, middle, end, and done. See the character in a situation, there is action/drama, and a satisfactory resolution. Like it, hate it; laugh, cry or shake your head and ignore.
My contribution to Imagination Sparks is . . an interesting TV commercial clip. Now, what you choose is up to you. I'd suggest next time you are watching a really good commercial - and sitting around with friends/family and having a deep what if conversation, or even up late alone, and the commercial sparks more interest than the urge to buy (or not buy) the product/service, you pull out the laptop or pen/pad and develop a character sketch, plot concept, beginning or middle to whatever the commercial "scene" has depicted.
To demonstrate the exercise: below is one of my favorite commercials, mostly because of the laugh factor, but it does have all the elements to develop a mystery plot. The question is: do you write about the dog, the missing cat and the wife that posted the flyers, the payoff of the human gardener, an extortion gone madly out of whack? Do you stick to animal characters? Or, my personal favorite, substitute the animals with human equivalents to come up with a Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry type comedy (The Whole Nine Yards). (ahem; I'm thinking of Michael DiGesu here with his Noir concept)
Its not too late; you can still join Charmaine Clancy's Imagination Sparks blogfest and enter your own writing warm-up exercise to the link, or click on the link to view other author's writing exercises.
I'm using a commercial as incentive for the my entry for the Vacation excerpt for Denise Covey's new site Write . . Edit . . Publish (which is replacing the closed Romantic Friday Writers site). Not the above commercial, of course; the one I chose has a pure vacation theme.
So what's your favorite warm-up exercise to get you in the writing mood? Care to share it on Charmaine's linky?
Don't forget this month's Insecure Writers Support Group is on Wednesday, August 7. Alex's co-hosts are M Pax, Karen Walker and Melissa Maygrove.
Hope y'all have a good weekend.