In the early stages of your writing career, you need all the inspiration and idea factories you can find. So, for you I made this quick list of 5 surprising resources for your next book idea (along with the next 10).
- The Nexus (No, not the wrestling, Skyrim, or Stock Market Nexus)
- Busy public venues (like the mall or theater lines)
- Library (that place with all the books, you know)
- Movies (we’re not talking about copying or, God forbid, retconning, but inspiration)
- The Bible
Okay, let’s dig in and see how to unearth the golden tickets from these 5 bars of chocolaty goodness.
The buckelsbooks version of the Nexus is the delightful place your mind wanders to when you’re watching a show or movie or reading a book or (supposed to be) listening to someone who’s chatting you up. The more I write the more I find my mind wandering to the Nexus. I often have to ask people to repeat themselves. Of course, I make sure to explain my author-attributed ADHD, or as I call it: AAADHD.
The Nexus is a phantasmagoric land of adventure. Anything goes. Here you can cobble together disparate ideas to create one awesome unified book idea. Here is where I combined genetic engineering with magic to fictionalize up Mythcorp. An entire series has sprung up from this tinkering in the Nexus. (I was guilty of DWI: Driving While Imagining).
Go ahead, let your mind wander down corridors never before trodden. You never know what you might conjure in the Nexus. Go wild! (This post in the Take it to the Bank series fleshes out the details in a fun way for you.)
Best-Selling Authors Do It, So It’s Okay
Public Venues: Many of the great best-selling authors (and many great not best-selling authors) enjoy going out in public and eavesdropping. Go ahead, this is guilt-free stuff here. It’s for research. I use that line all the time whenever my brother asks me why I’m learning something new and strange or when I hang around new and strange folk.
Listen to their dialogue. It’s absurd and clipped and visceral and real. An expression you never heard before might inspire an idea. At the very least you will pick up the rhythm and flow and staccato beat of realistic dialogue.
I don’t have to explain the whole library deal, right?
May great books have been inspired by movies (and the other way around, naturally). I’m not talking about watching Aliens and then writing a sci-fi horrorshow with a fantastic female protagonist. If you allow your writers noodle to pick up on the inspiration behind the writing of the movie, if you let your subconscious tweaker revel in the sheer pleasure of a great story, the movie might just inspire a totally different idea.
LISTEN: The more you write, the more cleverly you will watch and read. You begin picking up on subtle clues you never noticed before. Motivations that were lost on your fanboy or fangirl dazzle eyes will be clearly seen through your writer’s specs. With this superior grasp and deeper insight, your mind will conjure its own original ideas.
Not the Poisonwood Bible (Although that’s good too)
And last but not least is the Bible! Countless novelists have caught the Bible bug and scratched out winners left and right. Firstly there’s the 7,700 unique names (Magog and the Rabshakah are a couple of my favorites; they would make great names for space opera characters).
Then you have the epic showdowns between good and evil. Amazingly, evil wins on occasion in the books of the Bible, at least on the outset, which is more than you can say for those fat fantasies of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s and ‘90’s where no matter the odds you knew the bad guy would always eat it.
And then of course there’s the supernatural side of things. This divine undercurrent adds spice to every story inside, an unpredictable element. TIP: don’t fall for the dues ex machina fail so many subwriters have indulged in over the years. YOUR SUPERNATURAL elements should always be secondary, and they should never negate all that has come before with some super awesome alodatious last minute save.
(I’d still like someone to explain to me why those pretentious eagles in LOTR didn’t help earlier)
Anyway, food for thought. I hope you picked up a trick or two, an inspiring method for attaining ideas for your own stories. And remember: only you can write that book.
WORD OF THE DAY: Plunderbund
A plunderbund is a thieving group of businessmen. Yes indeed, the next time I have a meeting with the bosses of my boss, I’ll know just how to address that group. That pilfering plunderbund is gonna get an earful for shiznit!