10 April, 2012

#GuestPost :: How to Get Writing Ideas by Jenelle Jack Pierre

How to get writing ideas

Every story begins as an idea. Readers enjoy stories that are well-written and entertaining.  They want to become lost in the world of the book, to be engrossed with the characters, to laugh, to cry, to be intrigued.  Readers want to look up from a book and feel that it was worth their time. Here, I’ll share with you a few ways to get a good idea for your story.

1)   Read a good book

There are two ways that reading a book that you enjoy can give you story ideas.  First, you get to see for yourself how a good idea (or story) is created while you read.  Reading a good book allows you to take a self-guided class in writing (or to use a common phrase, read as a writer).  Up close, you get to examine sentence structure, characterization, plot, descriptions, and setting.  You can examine what works and why it works.  This learning process will give you confidence when you put pen to paper.
Second, you may read a line, run across a name, place, description, character or something else in the story that sparks your interest.  From this spark, questions might arise that the book’s author didn’t answer.  You can then come up with your own answer.  One single question can lead to a broad, full–scale fictional world.  An example of this is the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire.  Here the author explored the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, which was a well-known character from the Wizard of Oz.

2)    Movie Notes

As a writer, there is an opportunity to view a movie as more than a medium of entertainment.  Many techniques used in books are also utilized in movies and vice versa.  They include the use of flashbacks and multiple point-of-views.  The next time you watch a movie start with a climactic scene, enjoy a Bollywood dance routine, or watch different viewpoints in an ensemble comedy, think about how the use of movie techniques can be used within your own writing. 

3)   Live Your Life or Disconnect from Media

The best books often include keen observations about being human.  This  means one has to observe living, breathing humans.
Paying attention to your life can give you many writing ideas, because everyone does indeed have a story to tell.  If you look at your habits—what you like to eat in the mornings, what colors or types of clothing you like to wear, the way you interact with others and the way they interact with you— what would you say is interesting?  You can take this answer and implement some aspect of it within a story.
For example, say your favourite color is green.  You can begin a story with a character that likes green.  On second thought, they don’t just like green, they love green.  They love green in high definition.  They’re apartment furniture is green, their car is green, their hair is dyed green, etc.  And this character is the best friend of the main character who has lived the last two years seeing this monotone friend almost every day. And… you get the drift.  This one element, taken from your life, can have a snowball effect within your story.  Real life observations, big or small, can easily be incorporated into your fiction.

Often, books that resonate with readers did not come from some grand idea.  They started with a simple observation, by watching a film, reading a book, overhearing a conversation, sharing a funny story with a friend, and the list can go on.  As a writer, your job isn’t necessarily to go after ideas.

There are probably numerous ideas right in front of you.  

Kalena Moore is a Montgomery High student who isn’t into school. Isaiah Wilkins is a classmate that her friends think is trouble. Life becomes more interesting when Kalena starts dating Isaiah, but soon things spin quickly out of control and she gets pregnant. Then Kalena sees that there's another side to her boyfriend. 

Determined to put her life back together, Kalena takes a path where there is no turning back. 


Now time for the giveaway! Ms.Pierre has agreed to giveaway 3 copies of her book “Before I Breathe” in the format of your choice. How to participate? Simple just enter in the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great giveaway & guest post! I particularly love the disconnect from the media idea. I totally agree, so many ideas right there in front of you! Great:) Best success to you Jenelle!

    Paul R Hewlett

  2. Thank you for the opportunity!
    I'll read the book as soon as I can (:
    You can find my review on my goodreads profile (Sara Viti)