Thursday, October 24, 2013

Creative Places to Find Story Ideas and Writing Topics

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

On days that I am chomping at the bit to sit down and write, but for one reason or another (I'll spare you my excuses) I simply can't make it happen, I find the next best thing is to look for interesting topics to write about for my family column, or to pitch for an idea for a magazine article, or especially to breathe new life into the novel I'm writing.

Many times I just let my imagination wander (not too difficult while caring for 7 kids on a daily basis) to see what ideas will come to me, but on days that creativity escapes me completely, I've found the ideas below to be a tremendous resource for fun and unexpected writing fodder.



The conversations you can "quietly" observe on facebook are endless.  The best part is, you can do so from the comfort of your own home, and no one needs to know what you're up to.
For instance, last week I was reading dozens of posts on my news feed, and I read one that made me laugh out loud.  A mom posted that her 6-year old son gave their cat a bath in the toilet because he didn't want to waste water and fill up their tub.  Another friend commented that her kindergarten daughter used an entire box of maxi pads for her Barbie dolls to use as air mattresses in her Barbie Town House!  The comments that people left about each incident were even funnier than the actual post, which resulted in giving me a fun idea for a future topic for my family column.

Classified Ads or Sales Flyers

Classified ad sections (either online or in print) are happy hunting grounds for story ideas.
An online ad site I looked at recently popped up with an index of things for sale, which included toe nail jewels.  Seriously?  I had no idea that the average pedicure was now becoming so glamorous.  I was curious as to who was going the extra mile and buying jewels for their little piggies--teens, college kids, senior citizens?  As I started doing a little research to satisfy my curiosity, it sparked an idea for my novel--a mystery story that revolves around a funeral director.  One of my characters is now going to have toe nail jewelry--but there will be a twist to why he is actually wearing it!   So without having glanced at the classifieds, I never would've come up with that little addition to my story.


The book section of Amazon is like a well-stocked fish pond.
Punch in a few key words such as parenting or child development, choose the department you want to search in and then opt to have the results arranged in date order. Presto! A ready-made list of story ideas and expert authors to check out.
Our PTO is giving a special presentation on kids and the latest trends in social media and my search on Amazon unveiled how facebook uses advertising to reach tweens and teens by strategically placing ads on their news feeds to match a key word that they posted about.   This opened a whole new avenue for our group to explore for our presentation.
The next time you're feeling like your idea bank needs a few deposits, check out these places for some rich ideas.
Where are some different places you've found ideas to write about?  

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