Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

It's been a loooooong winter, but Spring is finally here. It's time to pull off the heavy coats, dust off the cobwebs and spring forward into creativity. Here are a few things I'm going to do to rev up the creative juices:

  1. Get together with a group of other writers and go around the circle with each person adding on to a tale started by the first person. Chain stories often spark a missing link needed in your current work-in-progress. I've been using this technique since college. Some of the most creative sparks flared up while utilizing this method in a pub, but that's another post.

  2. Go to a museum or art gallery and select an image, painting or other object that catches your eye, sit down with pad and paper or keyboard and start writing about it. What is it about this item that caught your attention? What do you feel was the artist’s inspiration in creating it? What do you imagine is the story behind this item? What are the characteristics of the person who created or found this item? Was the person fulfilling a life’s calling or passion? Was he or she responding to something coming from a place of joy, or maybe one of rage or fear?

  3. Visit a cemetery and find a monument that speaks to you. Some people like to take a large sheet of paper and rub with pencil, charcoal, pastels or crayons over an interesting picture or inscription. However, tombstone rubbings are not necessary to complete this exercise. Get into the character of this person. Who was he? What did she do in life? What was her greatest ambition? What did he leave undone? What was this person’s story?

  4. Okay. Maybe spring hasn’t officially sprung in your area. If it's an inclement day, go to your computer and visit a photograph Web site, like flickr, type in a word or group of words and click on the Search button and take a gander at what’s there. You’re sure to find some image to inspire your writing. One stunning collection I discovered recently is by Nick C. Carlson. He has a wonderful gift at composition and in capturing exquisite images. Here’s an example with a shot he took at Haceta Beach in Oregon. Isn't that awesome? What would your story be if you were there on that beach watching that scene? What would your character be doing there? Vacationing? Hiding? Killing?

  5. Select a symbol or icon you feel represents the meaning of life and write about how and why it does.

Now get back to following Roger Ebert’s advice and just write!


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