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Basic Writing Ideas

Updated on October 2, 2019


One of the first things I learned in a creative writing course I took along the way, is to "brainstorm." According to the book, "Writing the Natural Way," a good way to do this is to draw a circle on a piece of paper. Then write your main idea in the center. Direct spokes outward from the center circle to other circles at the end of the spokes. In the first circle of circles, write spin-off ideas that you think of because of the word in the middle. Next draw more spokes, and circles, and add words to those. By the time you've filled in all of the circles you've got a basic outline for whatever you're writing.

That outline can take the traditional form too. Start with a title, fill in the Roman numerals, and make sub-headings for each one using regular numbers. Then develop ideas from those and put them down using letters. Or, if all of this is confusing, just jot ideas down at random on a blank piece of paper. The idea is to move the information in your head to the page somehow. Just doing this will spur on more ideas. That's what you need, many things to choose from. It doesn't matter if all of the ideas don't make it into your current piece of writing. You can save them to use at a later date.

Another great way to get ideas is to blindfold yourself and record what you detect in your world through your five senses. Use a recorder for this.

One of the old fashioned ways writers' have been able to pick up true-to-life dialogue is to listen in on the other patrons at the restaurants they visit. Just make sure you don't quote anyone about anything without their permission. Just get ideas from the conversation, and from the way people put things. The thing is that, you don't have to purposely stick your nose in other peoples' business. You can just use the things that you hear, without trying to "listen in."

Keeping a daily journal of the things you notice in your life, can be great source of writing ideas. This is a lot easier than it sounds. Get a cloth covered blank book or a dime store composition book. The smaller the better. If it's small you won't be overwhelmed when thinking about recording things on a daily basis. It's kind of like the type of thing the little girl did in "Harriet the Spy."

If you think about it you could probably add to this idea generating list.


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