Inspiration: Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?
Teacher: Lil Chase, Senior Editor at Caroline Wakeman Literary Agency
We’ve talked in other posts about tackling writer’s block. But what if you’re stuck for an idea in the first place?! Below are some ways to help you get inspired and find your story!
Keep a Notebook
Being a writer is about observing the world around you – people relate to writing when it rings true.
Read newspapers and magazines (often the more tabloid the better!). Read children’s magazines especially. The problem pages are rife with stories.
Or read a non-fiction book. Perhaps you’ll read about fishing (for example) and find a story about a child who learns to fish. Or maybe, a story about the fish who’s been caught!
Read Children’s Fiction
Take a children’s story and tell it in a different way. Setting in a different time period is how Romeo and Juliet became West Side Story. Imagine if Prince Charming became Princess Charming, scouring the kingdom for a boy who dropped a stinky boot. Changing the tone so, for example, something scary becomes something funny – My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish.
Read Adult Fiction
Are there adult novels that could work with children as main characters? Can you retell myths and legends in a fresh way? (e.g. Loki by Louie Stowell.) There’s fun to be had by taking a well-known character and writing about their early years.
Books can be told from the point of view of the minor-characters in a famous book. (Be careful that the character is not under trademark!)
Travel doesn’t have to be exotic. Is there a way you can look at your home town with fresh eyes?
It might be a human skull with an arrow wound, or a Greek helmet. Who was the victim? Who wore the armour?
Hang Out With Kids
Either your own, or ask to borrow a friend’s child. What interests them? What worries them? Simply talking to friends about their childhoods might generate ideas too.
Put yourself in the mind of a child of the age you’re writing for and look around. Inspiration will hit!
For more free tips for how to improve your writing for children’s books subscribe to our ITSme Learning Newsletter!
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