For those of you who don't know Bonnie, she has written Dawn's End and Dawn's End: Poisoned.
by Bonnie Ferrante
"Where do you get your ideas?" is one of the most common questions a writer is asked. But, once a dialogue has begun, it becomes apparent that the real question is, "How do you generate creativity?" Here is a snippet of what I have learned about generating topics, plots, characters, and themes.When the brain is constantly receiving input from music, emails, television, texts, movies, conversation, or books, it is unable to be creative. It is only when all the input is turned off and the mind is able to relax and play with what it has received, that new connections and original ideas are able to surface. Every writer has their own trick for doing this but what they all have in common is shutting off the outside world.
Repetitive mindless movement is a great way to stimulate the brain. Try swimming laps, jogging (without headphones), a long walk in a quiet place, ironing, having a long soak in the tub by candlelight, laying on a blanket and looking up at the stars, washing the floor or windows, or weeding the garden. It must not require problem solving nor demand too much of your attention.If you are caught in a brain loop worrying or reliving something, you will be unable to think creativity. You may need to be more proactive to bring that monkey-brain under control. Try deep relaxing breaths, silent meditation, chanting, or playing scales on the piano.Once you have your mind relaxed and content, start to imagine. Take an idea for a story and begin to ask "What if?" Be wild, inventive, and extreme. Go overboard. Do not censure your thoughts. Play with the most outrageous ideas you can imagine. By doing this, you will free yourself of the predictable, mundane, and common. If you can't think of an idea, read a headline from the news and nothing else. Start imagining what the story could be.Once you feel you have the seed for a story, poem, or novel, start brainstorming. Jot down, in point form, all the crazy ideas around a single theme, plot, or character. Before you know it, you will have an original idea with which to begin.