Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Think outside your creative box.

Are you stuck? Are you sitting 2/3s through your story, and don't know where to go? Maybe it's because you're bored or maybe you've dug yourself into a hole you can't climb out of. Maybe your creative merry-go-round has stopped spinning and you don't have the energy to run around and around to get your story started again. What can you do to get your creativity back?

I read in a book recently ways to be more creative in your stories. Brainstormer activities. Let's say you finished a chapter or scene and you've sat back and thought, 'it's crap' or you've thought, 'What can I do now?'.

What can you do?

Try this brainstomer activity. Here's how it works:

1) Read the story below - it's sort of an impossible situation you've got your character do you get them out? This is the point where your creative juices have run dry.
2) Fill in the blanks using the criteria beside it.

Story: Bad men have sabotaged your character's plane over an ocean. There's a bomb somewhere. If the plane crashes into the ocean, the frigid waters will kill her in four hours. What can you write next?

Fill in the blanks:
Automatic _________(this is probably what made you get stuck in the first place, you chose the automatic scenario...)
Obvious __________
Common Place __________
Interesting _____________
Unusual ____________
Odd ___________
Opposite _______________
Inventive __________
Creative ______________
Magical __________
Amusing ________________
Outrageous __________
Preposterous ________________

Here are my answers:

Automatic  - A writer should leave this one blank because automatic = boring.
Obvious  - She finds a raft on board and when the plane lands, saves herself.
Common Place  - She crashes into the ocean and a fishing boat saves her.
Interesting - She lands the plane, makes a raft out of luggage.
Unusual  - She creates her own bomb, and just before the plane explodes, she parachutes out.
Odd - Just in the nick of time, she 'flashes' and learns how to disarm a bomb and fly a plane. Oh wait, I've seen this somewhere...
Opposite - She dreaming, there's not really a plane or a bomb.
Inventive - She puts on all the clothing she can find, jumps in the ocean and stays warm long enough to get rescued.
Creative - She parachutes from the plane as it crashes into the ocean and somehow lands on an island where a soccer ball somehow just floats ashore. She and her new face-ball-friend survive on shellfish and coconuts and pretend they're on Survivor.
Magical - She jumps out of the plane. What!? She can fly!
Amusing - She jumps from the plane and lands on top of a hot air balloon.
Outrageous - She decides to commit suicide and crashes the plane. The end.
Preposterous - Just as the plane is about to land in the ocean, she get's beamed up to a space ship with a little green guy who tells her she has a better life in an alternate reality.

The key is, get your creative juices flowing and think outside the box.

Source: Brainstormer
Picture source: here


Emma Michaels said...

great idea!

Unknown said...

I love this! I can't wait to read the book, it seems like such good information!!!

Ann Elle Altman said...

Emma, thanks. Some great ideas in the book.

Jen, hope you find the book as interesting as I did.


Kimberly Franklin said...

Such a great idea! I'm going to have to try this one out. : )

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I love this Ann. Great exercise. I wish I wrote with characters and not just editorial humorous satire. I could use this! LOL

TirzahLaughs said...

They didn't know that she's from a secret werewolf clan.

She turns, kills all the plane personnel, jumps from the plane, and uses her fur and superior physical abilities to survive. It allows her to survive in the frigid temperatures longer than a mere human.

Plus, the bomb on the plane destroys the bodies and the evidence of her werewolfishness.


Of course, one man does secretly survive. He's turned from her attack and spends the rest of his unnatural life hunting her down for revenge.


Unknown said...

I vote for the aliens LOL

Beam me up Scotty .....

Ann Elle Altman said...

You guys are so funny! Yes, this is exactly what it's suppose to accomplish.


Emma Michaels said...

You have won an award from my blog:

Bisi Adjapon said...

Another great post. Interesting exercise, hahaha.

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for sharing that. Apart from not having time to write this minute, I'm stuck with the next chapter.

I read somewhere that an option is to think of 20 things that can happen to a character in a given situation.

I like your exercise/solution better.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

There is genius in this and I'm going to try it.
Warm regards,

Voidwalker said...

Wow, that's a GREAT idea for developing an out!!!! I'm serious, that's some really good advice. Thanks a ton, you may have just helped me push through a very tough spot in my WIP.

Kimberly Job said...

What an awesome idea! I'm definitely stuck, so I'm going to try this.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Emma, thank you. I re-linked to you.

Thanks, Bisi for the comment.

Jayda, I'm eagerly awaiting your next chapter. So, get on with it! :)

Simone, I can't take credit for the genius.

Well, all I can say guys is that I'm glad I found the material and hope you can get out of your funk.


Anonymous said...

Great post! (Love the hot air balloon one.)

I'm copying the list for a brainstormer. I'm sure it'll help.



from the desk of a writer

Ann Elle Altman said...

No problems, Corra, not really my idea but a good one anyway. :)

J.L. Campbell said...

Back to copy that stuff to try and get the next chapter going! Thanks again!

Ann Elle Altman said...

Joy, hope it helps.