Today I’ve been wrestling around with several different topics and have decided to make good on my promise to talk about the world of writing. Just as a disclaimer I’ve got a degree in English, work on this blog, and in middle school won an essay contest so I’m pretty hot stuff (jk please don’t take me too seriously). I made a video before on my embarrassing Youtube channel about writing essay’s/research papers for school:
So if you want advice on that watch the video or at least read the about section. There’s a few useful links down there.
To tie in with the above information, as well as to throw some tips for those of us who prefer to write fiction, the topic of choice right now is: ideas. I mention in the video that for research papers sticking to the topic at hand is very important, however it is very difficult to write well about something you don’t care about. This is why in the case of academic writing I’ve found it’s always useful to try and figure out a way to tie my interests in with the given prompt.
For example when given a broader topic like history, even if it’s narrowed down to say the 1920s to the 1950s, the things you care about may be older than you think. You could focus on what sports where like at the time, or the fashion, or even something as unique as they way homes where built. Obviously the more specific and obscure the subject the harder it may be to find information, but your desire to do so will at the very least increase.
For book reports, one of the easiest go to topics for me as a feminist is gender roles in the story, particularly since much of what’s assigned to students is older and from a fairly singular perspective. Sometimes you can even narrow things down and compare two characters of interest or just analyze one.
With fiction you can get a little bit more creative. Some teachers are pretty strict about science fiction and fantasy, but even with that restriction you’ve still got some wiggle room. One of the first things I’d recommend when your strapped for ideas is read or watch something you enjoy and then pick apart what you like about it. Is it the genre, the themes, the characters, or is it a combination of any of those things?
Second I’d also recommend listening to music. Perhaps this is just me, but I always find putting on a song helps me to visualize a story, whether I’m imaging this song as a part of a movie soundtrack or as the theme song of a specific character it’s all a part of giving an idea more dimension. For instance I have an idea in my mind involving a Selkie (a creature with a human and seal form) and the Florence and the Machine song Swimming perfectly captures parts of my Selkie’s story:
When you’re not bound by school and just want to write for fun the freedom can be both exciting and intimidating. Especially since it’s very difficult to be original these days. Despite the fact that it sometimes feels like every idea has been done already, let me let you in on a little secret. The beauty of stories isn’t always their originality. The fact that we tell stories that are thousands of years old is amazing. It means that no matter how much humanity has changed we are still drawn to some of the same things people were thousands of years ago.
Older stories are often the perfect base to jump off of when you’re stuck. I personally love fairy tales because you could take one story like Cinderella and see it told as far back as ancient Egypt and China and compare it to the way it’s commonly told now and get so many different ideas. This is not a bad thing.
Using another one of my stories as an example. The visual image of a girl and a wolf is very cool to me. The comic book Fables (which is also influenced heavily by fairy tales) gave me the characters of Snow White (reimagined by the author) and Bigby Wolf (aka the Big Bad Wolf) and as odd as it sounds out of context they made a very cute couple. What was initially inspired by that visual and those two characters has taken on a life all it’s own:
My characters Peony and Joel drawn by may12324 Check her out!!!!
Not to get too into it, because I’m still developing their story all the time, but Peony (the lady with the curly hair) is a werewolf who doesn’t really want to be one, and Joel (the red-head) is someone who can shift into a human or wolf form at will, but prefers to be a wolf most of the time. One of this days I’ll give them the webcomic treatment (with two main arcs), but for now I just doodle them from time to time.
This is an older drawing of them by me on my deviantart account
Wherever you get your ideas from don’t be afraid of them evolving and growing regardless of what your writing for. There are times when I’ve started working on a paper for class and about half way through realized I could be making a stronger point from a different angle. You’ve also sometimes gotta let your characters take over because often times what you initially wanted them to do doesn’t make sense anymore. Either way let loose, don’t be afraid to stink first, and don’t worry as much about being original so long as you put your own personal spin on it. There’s a difference between exactly copying someones work and being inspired.
I don’t know if this was helpful, but if you’ve made it this far thanks for reading 😅 I’ll probably be back Wednesday (and definitely on Friday), but until then stay informed and have a week 😁
***Featured image- I just like roses man…