Sparking Original Ideas

“The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.” – Oscar Wilde.

Sounds a bit over-clever, but I think he might have meant, Don’t go with the first idea that drifts into your head.  When stories come to Pulp Literature’s inbox, I’m delighted to find tales that are what I’ll call new, or at least new to me in a lifetime of avid reading. This writer takes me to undiscovered territory.

Coming up with an original idea for a story requires pushing past all the stories we’ve ever loved, while trailing them with us for the lessons they teach us in the joy of storytelling.

Everyone is different, but many writers agree that flashes of inspiration do not come when called. However, here are two writing tips that might aid the flash. Both begin with a deliberate written exercise.  One or the other may end in something special to get us past acquisitions and into editorial.

Two Exercises to Spark Ideas

  1. Write down 20 ways your story might go. Past five, and the hard work begins. Past ten, and among the wild and woolly visions something monumental may well make itself known.
  2. Employ synectics, which Wiki describes as “a problem solving methodology that stimulates thought processes of which the subject may be unaware.” For example, you might take two images or themes from your story, for example personal sacrifice and a pot of green peas, and look for ways they are the same.

Imagination working overtime.  No wonder it’s so challenging thinking up good stories, and no wonder we love that challenge.

I wish you another great week in your writing career. Cheers, Mel.

Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries was long listed for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and won a Literary Titan Book Award. The Labours of Mrs Stella Ryman, volume two of the series, is here alongside volume one.


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