(Photo by Jeff Kraus)
I was sitting out on a friends back deck the other day, working on some ideas for a writing project. It was a beautiful spring morning and as I looked down I noticed the reflection in the glass top of the outdoor table. I saw a couple of fluffy white clouds, floating aimlessly in an ocean of pure blue. As I admired the beauty, a plane glided smoothly from one side of the vista to the other, it was so far away that no sound broke the serenity of the scene. Being a reflection, the image was upside down. Then I thought to myself, what if the bottom of the plane was actually the top, and suddenly, I was watching a spacecraft soaring across the sky.
The lesson I learnt – Simple things can stimulate the mind, try looking at them from a new angle.
I continued to work on my ideas, looking for inspiration and direction. Then my friend joined me and suggested we brainstorm ideas. So I wrote my character’s name in the centre of a sheet of scrap paper and she asked me a series of questions. Where is your character? how did he get there? How did he know that? where did he learn this? where is another character? How does he feel about them? With each question, I drew a line from my character’s name and placed the answer at the end. Each question that came from the answer had its own line with its own answer at the end. Within 20 minutes I had a full page of questions and answers that filled my head with new ideas and connections to them that branched out from the web of information on the page.
Lesson learnt no.2 – Talk about your story with a friend, get them to ask about it and write down the answers.