Inspiration Station: 6 Ways to Find Ideas

Inspiration Station 6 ways to find ideas

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

I get asked that question frequently from friends, other bloggers, and more. I never have a specific answer for them because my ideas come from everywhere and from everything.

I tell them, as long as you keep your eyes and mind open, you can find ideas all around you.

1. Movies and TV shows.

Most people watch TV in their down time–after work, after dinner, right before bed. Movies and TV shows tell stories. They have a plot, they have characters. Movies can be inspiring and spark new ideas. For me, I always get an itch to write something great whenever I watch Harry Potter.

2. Read a book.

This is pretty straight forward. Whenever I read a great book, I’m always motivating to come up with an idea that’s just as great.

3. People.

When you go out for a walk, go to the grocery store, or just stand in line at the coffee shop, watch the people around you. Observe how they look and act. You can probably come up with a story to fit those people. Just be sure not to judge a book by its cover too much.

4. Real life.

Did something hysterical happen to you and your friends that would only happen in a sitcom? Maybe something terrible happened that you’re still trying to get over. Write about it. Come up with a new ending. Twist and turn the events and make it your own.

5. Create new characters.

Base characters off of yourself, members of your family, some of your friends. Use real life people as guidelines to create a new character. Then see what kind of situations that character can handle in a story.

6. Hopes and dreams.

Do you want to have superpowers and save the world? Maybe you want to travel the world, but don’t have the money. Maybe you wish there were more hours in the day. Create stories based on what you want. We can’t extend the days longer than 24-hours, but in a fictional world one day might be 48-hours long. Think of all the possibilities if each day equaled two.

There are ideas all around us. You just need to get creative and let your imagination run wild with it.

How do you come up with your ideas?

What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada

What Do You Do With An Idea
Photo taken from Amazon.

I went to Barnes and Noble the other day and came across this children’s book, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada.

I thought it was newly published, but later found out that it came out in February of 2014. So you may have already heard of this lovely story.

Kris and I read through the book together and it melted my heart.

It’s about a child who comes up with an idea and doesn’t know what it is or understands what to do with it.

The child says that he keeps it to himself because he’s afraid of what other people might think. Yet, the idea stays with him and won’t go away.

The idea looks like an egg and it’s the only object on the page that is colored. Everything else is black and white. The idea grows with the child as he gets older constantly following him around.

It isn’t until the child finds some confidence in himself and in the idea that the rest of the illustrations are filled with color showing what a wonderful thing an idea is.

This book has such a powerful message that I believe everyone needs to learn. As a preschool teacher and babysitter of various ages, it’s important to encourage our children to be creative, speak their opinions, and do what they believe is right.

As a writer, it’s important to roll with the ideas we think of and be creative with our thoughts. Writing is a risky business and not everyone may not like your ideas, but there will be people out there who will love your ideas and support you and your ideas.

A new year is going to begin soon. Next year will be all about you. Spread those ideas around, do what makes you happy, do what you believe is right.

Some ideas may not work out, but that’s okay. The worst kind of failure is not trying at all.

Short Story Sunday #59

SSS Wedding Prep

 

I wrote this 100-word drabble as a part of Sacha Black’s Writespiration #37 a few weeks ago. Make sure you check out her blog, as well! Enjoy!

“We’re going to a wedding, not a funeral! Look happy.” She told me as she put on mascara, her face inches away from the mirrior.

I sat on her bed watching her waiting for my turn in front of the mirror. I was happy. But did she remember the way she spoke to me minutes ago?

“Don’t wear your hair like that. Those shoes don’t look well with that dress. You’re going to put on make-up, right?”

Sure, I was happy to go to the wedding. It was just hard to be happy sitting in the same room as her.

Short Story Sunday #57

SSS Crowd

            She was carried along by the crowd. She tried to reach her arms through people and also tried to see over their heads, but she was too small. She called out his name a few times, but the crowd was so loud in yelling and stampeding through the streets, that no one could hear her; she couldn’t even hear herself.

Amanda, when she could no longer see Jeff, turned around and started walking among the crowd. She didn’t know where they were going, but she thought that it would be easier to walk with the crowd than against. Maybe she could find a small gap that she could fit through and make it to the sidewalk. Then she could backtrack and try to find Jeff again.

She hoped Jeff was thinking the same thing and was trying to find his way back to her.

Amanda picked up her feet and was marching through the streets. She felt so small with the entire crowd surrounding her that if she walked as she normally did, she knew for sure that she would fall and get trampled.

Finally, she found a small opening and tried to walk through it when someone grabbed her arm. She was startled and tried to wriggle free, but she couldn’t get out of the grip.

“Stop, it’s me! Jeff!”

Amanda turned around and noticed Jeff right behind her holding onto her arm. She let out a sigh of relief.

“What are you walking with the crowd for?” Jeff demanded glaring at her.

“I was trying to get away, but I wasn’t strong enough to walk the opposite way. I was trying to make my way to the sidewalk.” Amanda explained.

“Hold onto my arm and do not let go. Follow me.” Jeff was still holding onto Amanda’s arm and she was holding onto his other arm.

He led the way diagonally. They were walking with the crowd, but there were making their way to the sidewalk where no one seemed to be around. Amanda was thankful that the stampede was protesting in the street and not the sidewalk. She thought that was odd, but she wasn’t going to say anything about it.

Finally, she and Jeff made it safely to the sidewalk. Holding onto her tighter, Jeff turned around and started running in the opposite direction of the crowd.

“Where are going to go?” Amanda called trying to keep up with him. Her legs were a lot shorter than his to the point that he was practically dragging her down the sidewalk.

“We’re going home to get some supplies and then we’re leaving the city.” Jeff answered, but he didn’t turn his head to look at her. He was too focused on where he was going.

“What is going on, anyway? Why are all these people so angry?” Amanda wondered.

“We’ll talk about that later in private!” Jeff shouted over the crowd. “We don’t want anyone overhearing our conversation. No more talking until we find the car.”

Amanda nodded her head even though Jeff wasn’t looking at her. With Jeff holding onto her hand and leading her, she watched the crowd trample by them going in the opposite direction. No one seemed to notice that other people were running the opposite way. None of the protesters seemed to care that they were scaring the lives out of some people.

Amanda had woken up that morning to crashes and bangs. When she peeked out the window she noticed that parts of the city were destroyed and on fire. She didn’t understand what was going on. She didn’t understand why the protestors were rioting. She went outside to look for her husband Jeff when she was accidentally swept away by the crowd.

Apparently Jeff was trying to pack the car and get their things together in an attempt to leave the city. That was why Amanda couldn’t find him in the morning and now that the crowd carried her so far away, she ended up delaying their escape.

However, she wasn’t sure what they were escaping from. She didn’t want to leave the city. She didn’t want to leave her home. It was the first house and her husband bought together when they first got married. They were going to start a family together soon. If they left the city, they would have nowhere to go. They would be homeless.

They made it back to the house and Jeff let go of Amanda’s arm. He barked some orders to her and Amanda immediately obeyed without asking any questions.

Together, the two of them ran into their house and grabbed as many belongings as they could. They didn’t bother to pack anything in suitcases; they just threw everything into the minivan and tossed the suitcases in after. They would sort through it all later.

“Is there anything else you need to get?” Jeff asked starting up the van.

Amanda looked back at the house. She and Jeff grabbed all their clothes, all the food they could carry, their stash of money, and any other essentials they needed. They were even able to throw in some things that had sentimental value.

“The house,” Amanda replied without thinking.

Jeff frowned.

“I know… maybe when this is all over we can come back with hopes that it’s not burned to the ground or broken into. I wish we could pack everything we have, including the furniture and the house itself. But we just can’t. Amanda, is there anything else you need to get? We need to leave… immediately.” Jeff explained looking sad.

Amanda shook her head and hopped into the front seat of the car. As she buckled her seatbelt, Jeff revved the engine and sped off. Amanda watched her house shrink in the distance through the side mirror and allowed a few tears to come down her cheek.

“What was going on?” she whispered to Jeff.

“They’re bringing the war here.” Jeff had a tear rolling down his cheek as well.

Short Story Sunday #56

SSS Warning

            Ginny had been warned, but now it was too late. She didn’t think anything of it at first. She thought that people were just making a big deal out of nothing. However, when the day came she realized that she had taken the situation a little too lightly.

Ginny had a huge AP math exam. She was good at math; especially since she was in the highest math class. However, it was because that she was good at math, she thought herself to be a little too good. She didn’t put all her effort into her homework because according to her, she all ready knew it all. She never studied for her tests because she knew all the material all ready. That didn’t matter because she still managed to get good grades on her tests and even on her homework. Her homework didn’t even take her long to do at home after school.

It was her favorite class because she didn’t even need to pay attention in it. She was just that good at math. Since she never paid attention in class, she never bothered to take any notes. People in her class were amazed because even when the teacher called on her to answer a question, she was able to know the answer and get it right.

“How can she know all the answers if she doesn’t pay attention in class? She doesn’t even take any notes!” people would say about her.

Ginny would smile and smirk when she overheard some of these comments. She knew she was great at math and she had no problem showing it off; especially since math was such a tricky subject to some people.

“We’re all in the same AP math class, guys,” Ginny would say arrogantly, “you guys know the material, too. You’re probably just over thinking it all.”

No one liked it when she said things like that. Most people got angry with her because she was all about herself and how smart she was in math. She was too confident and it bothered people. However, Ginny never seemed to notice that.

So, when the final AP math exam was coming up at the end of the year, all the kids in her class were panicking. Ginny, on the other hand, was cool as cucumber. She still didn’t bother to take any notes or pay any attention in class, her homework was done in about ten minutes, and she never studied the review quizzes that her teacher would give her and the class to practice on for the exam.

“This exam is going to be a lot harder than what we’ve been prepared for all year.” One girl named Bea explained to their lunch table. “I know because my sister had Professor Henry. She said that he prepares you up to a certain point and then he expects you to do the rest of the preparing yourself. That’s why he gives us those tough review quizzes. He’s subtly telling us that the exam is going to be a lot harder than we think.”

“That’s stupid,”

“Yeah, that’s not fair!”

Ginny would laugh and smirk at everyone’s comments about the math exam. Once she snickered too loud, everyone looked over at her and glared.

“Just because you seem to think that you know it all, doesn’t mean that you should rub it in all of our faces.” Bea snarled. “Ginny, you should be studying, too. I believe every word my sister says. The test is going to be a lot harder than any of us has ever imagined. That includes you.”

“No,” Ginny chuckled, “I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

The bell rang to end the lunch period and Ginny stood up from the table. She smiled at all her classmates.

“If any one of you thinks you’ll need some extra help, I’ll be available to tutor you.” Ginny thought it was a nice gesture, but her classmates didn’t seem to think so. They assumed she was just rubbing it in again.

Ginny walked away with a smile on her face. She didn’t realize it, but maybe she was rubbing it all in.

A week later, it was time for the exam. Professor Henry passed out a large packet of math problem. Ginny stared at the packet in horror flipping through all the pages. She knew the exam was going to be big, but she didn’t expect it to be this big. Some of the pages only had one problem on it because the entire page was going to be needed to show work on how they found the answer.

Ginny looked around at her classmates and she was relieved to see that they all had the same expressions on their faces. They were all flipping through the pages looking at what kind of questions were going to be expected of them to know. Ginny shrugged her shoulders and closed the packet to the first page again. She folded her hands on her desk and waited confidently for Professor Henry to give them the okay to start.

“Now as you all can see,” Professor Henry paced at the front of the room, “the exam is rather large. That is why I decided that whatever questions you do not finish or get to, will not be counted against you. However, keep in mind that the less questions you do, the more points they’re worth.

“For example, if you only get to ten questions that mean each of those questions are worth ten points in order to add up to 100. If you get five out of those ten questions wrong, then you have a 50 on the exam and you fail. Does everyone understand?” Professor Henry stopped pacing and looked around the classroom.

Ginny too looked around the classroom with confidence. She chuckled to herself as all her classmates looked as though they were panicking on the inside.

“Wonderful,” Professor Henry stated with no emotion, “begin.”

Ginny looked down at the math packet and read the first question. She paused and her eyes widened. She had no idea what the question was asking her to do. She lifted her head and gazed around the room. Every single one of her classmates had their pencils moving. They seemed to know what they were doing, or they had an idea of what they were supposed to bed doing.

Ginny shook her head and tried not to panic right away like the rest of her classmates. She skipped the first question and looked down at the second question on the paper. She swallowed a large lump in her throat upon realizing that she had no idea what that question was asking, either.

I have an idea, she thought to herself.

Ginny flipped to the back of the packet and looked at the last question. Professor Henry tended to make each question harder as the tests went on. Maybe if she started with the hardest one and made her way to the easy questions, the information would come back to her and she would be able to do each question without a problem.

However, she had no idea what the last question was asking of her, either.

Ginny leaned back in her chair and glanced up at the clock. Five minutes have all ready passed by. She all ready wasted five minutes and she didn’t even start one question, yet. She didn’t even pick a question to start working on. She looked around the room once more and noticed that everyone was still scribbling away in their own packets. Some seemed to be on the same question and others seemed to have moved onto the next one.

Ginny sighed and looked back at the very first question once more. She put her pencil on the paper and took a deep breath.

Here goes nothing.

TTFN & L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads):

After everything they’ve been through together, Angela, Maddie, and Zoe know they’ll be friends till the end–but sometimes the fates (or parents) have other plans.
With sophomore year and its troubles behind them, the winsome threesome is on cruise control, enjoying the well-earned perks of being sixteen. But then Angela (SnowAngel) gets some seriously bad family news :'( that threatens to change her life forever. On top of that, Maddie (mad maddie) decides to let loose her wild side 😛 and Zoe (zoegirl) struggles to keep a big secret from Angela :O. Will junior year pull the girls apart just when they need each other most? Only their instant messages reveal the full story…

I have to say that I enjoyed TTFN more than I enjoyed the first book, TTYL.

I was used to how the three main girls acted and I also felt as though the troubles they faced this time around were more realistic.

One of the main girls moves far, far away and of course it’s a big deal. Who would want to leave in the middle of their junior year of high school across the country leaving their hometown and best friends? The worst part was that the move was due to her father losing his job. So the move just added on more stress.

This was a great tale of how the three girls stuck together even though they were so far away from each other. There were great lessons to be learned as they were all still there for each other miles away.

TTFN by Lauren Myracle gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“mad maddie: on every single sitcom in the world, this is how problems start. some idiot plays dumb and doesn’t tell someone else what’s really going on, and then there’s mass confusion and mistaken assumptions and everything ends in chaos.” –Lauren Myracle, TTFN

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads):

Angela, Zoe and Maddie are finally seniors and ready for the great year they deserve. After two years of fighting, experimentation and some hilarious stories, they are prepared to enjoy the fruits of seniority – even though being top dogs at school means thinking about college, sex and even the impending end of their inseparable trio.

This is the third book in the Internet Girls series and I have to say that it hit home for me.

Angela, Zoe, and Maddie are seniors in high school and are dealing with the stresses of applying to colleges, getting accepted, and–the worst part–being apart from each other in different states.

One thing I didn’t enjoy in the book was that the three girls were at “war” with a girl named Jana in their class. They play pranks on her and she retaliates for most of their senior year. It took bullying to a whole new level and I felt like seniors shouldn’t be acting like that.

They also deal with what most 18-year-olds deal with: relationships. Zoe finds true love, Maddie stumbles upon it, and Angela realizes she doesn’t need a man to complete… someday her prince will come.

Ultimately, this book dealt with friendship and how truly important it is.

L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“we’re our own destiny, that’s all. and 1 day we WILL be gone, so we better appreciate life while we can.” –Lauren Myracle, l8r, g8r

Check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!

Six On The Sixth #5: Mom

Six on Sixth Mom

Chauffeur

Driving to activities and friends’ houses.

Teacher

Helping with homework late at night.

Therapist

Listening to problems and giving advice.

Nurse

Kissing every physical and emotional bruise.

Friend

Supporting me in everything I do.

Mother

That’s why my mom is best.

Diagrams for Book Lovers

A few days ago I was looking through my Twitter and I came across Goodreads’ latest tweet:

Curiosity bit me so I clicked on the link and an article titled 15 Insanely Useful Diagrams for Book Lovers came up.

The article is full of flowcharts about reading and books. I thought it would be something cool to share with you guys because I enjoyed looking through them.

Many of you may have already seen some of the charts; especially if you’re on Pinterest. There were a few that I have never even seen before and they were all interesting and useful in their own way.

My favorite charts were…

6 — which I’ve seen before
8 — this one had interesting facts about authors
11 — as a teacher, this one is useful
13 — this had more interesting facts about characters in books
15 — this one is just plain adorable

So go check out the charts. I promise it won’t be a time-waster. If anything, you’ll add new books to your to-be-read list.

Short Story Sunday #55

SSS Glass

            The sound of breaking glass stopped her. She ran into the living room to see what had happened. There she saw her young daughter and their new puppy standing over a broken lamp. The dog and her daughter looked at each other with worried expressions as though they were both wondering how they were going to get out of that one.

“And just what do the two of you think you’re doing?” Anna placed both hands on her hips. She was glaring at her daughter.

“Uh…” her daughter smiled and shrugged her shoulders. The dog laid down at her feet and acted as though he was unfazed by the situation.

“Julie, you and Spot and need to get out of the living room right now,” Anna pointed to the stairs. “Go up to your bedroom and don’t come out until I go up there and talk to you. Watch your step; you’re not wearing any socks. The last thing we need right now is for your or Spot to step on a piece of glass.”

Julie bent down and grabbed Spot’s collar. She pulled him to his feet and motioned for him to follow her. He obeyed and together they walked up the stairs and disappeared out of the room. Anna stood her ground for a few moments and once she heard Julie’s bedroom door close, she then left to grab the vacuum cleaner.

Anna vacuumed up all the glass shards and threw away the big pieces. She looked at the coffee table and shook her head. That was the only lamp in the room. Now she was going to have to buy a new one if anyone wanted to hang out in the living room after dark.

She walked up the stairs and knocked on Julie’s bedroom door. Without waiting for a reply, she opened the door a crack and saw both Julie and Spot lying down on her bed.

“Okay, are you two ready to tell me what happened now?” Anna asked.

Julie sat up in her bed and Spot followed her lead.

“Well, Spot and I were trying to see who could run the fastest. I accidentally tripped over the coffee table and the lamp fell.” Julie explained sheepishly.

“You were trying to see who could run the fastest… in the living room? Where there’s furniture all over the place?” Anna deadpanned.

Julie nodded her head slowly.

Anna sighed, “Julie, do you think that sounds like a good idea? The broken lamp aside, do you think it makes sense to be running around a small area with a lot of objects in the way?”

Julie shook her head and Spot whined.

“I cleaned it all up for you. Please don’t let it happen again. Now we don’t have a lamp in the living room.” Anna explained.

“Sorry,” Julie stated softly.

“If you and Spot want to run around, please go outside next time. In fact, I think that’s a wonderful idea. You and Spot can go hang outside for a little bit. Go on,” Anna stepped aside so Julie and Spot could exit the room.

Julie looked as though she was going to protest at first, but she thought better about it. She hopped off her bed, Spot following her lead, and together the two of them walked out the front door.

Anna looked out the window and smiled when she saw Julie laughing and running around with the dog chasing her.

She walked back into the kitchen and resuming her cooking dinner with a smile on her face. It was quiet all of the sudden so it was nice to have that moment as she cooked. She should have forced Julie and Spot to go outside more often.

Anna turned around to bring something to sink when her elbow collided with her glass mixing bowl. That and all the ingredients inside it fell to the floor, shattering the mixing bowl. Anna’s shoulders slumped down in annoyance. She stopped what she was doing and grabbed the dust pan and broom.

Now only did she have glass all over the tiled floor, but now their dinner was all over the floor as well.

Reading Books May Contain Spoilers

I’m sorry to say that there is no book review today (I’m off to a great start this month!) due to recovery from surgery last week, finishing up my school semester, and getting back to work. Next week I’ll clump the two book reviews together; especially since they’re part of a series.

In other news, I had to share this with you guys…

I went to the bookstore last night and while I was browsing a young girl–who looked to be about 10- or maybe 11-years-old–and her mother were in the same aisle as me. We were in the young adult section and the young girl picked up a book and held it in front of her mother’s face.

Mother: Oh, did you want to get that?
Girl: Yeah, I think the book sounds pretty good.
Mother: But honey… if you read the book, then you’ll spoil the movie for yourself.

I had to walk into a different section because I didn’t know whether to laugh or to be horrified. I mean, who says that?

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

The mother should be encouraging her child to read. She should be using the movie as a treat for finishing the book so they can discuss the differences between the two, which one they liked better, etc. The movie is rarely anything like the book, anyway.

Education aside, why were they in the bookstore in the first place? If she wasn’t planning on buying any books–because apparently books have “spoiler alert” written all over it–why were they browsing?

There is a media section that sells music and movies downstairs, so were they lost? I don’t know.

Am I thinking too much into this? Yeah, probably; especially since it’s none of my business. I was just baffled, I guess.

I saw the mother and daughter leave the store and they were carrying a bag, so maybe the daughter was able to get the book after all. I hope she did and I hope she enjoys it a lot.

May Goals

May 2015 Goals

April has come and gone and boy, did it go by fast. Spring is officially here (let’s hope the weather stays nice) and school is officially over for me which means that I’m going to have more time on my hands. More reading, more writing, more blogging.

That being said, I decided to set monthly goals for myself to get myself into a better routine. I’ll still be spending six hours of my day at work, but that’s all scheduled so it’s easy to set goals.

Reading:

With five Saturdays in May, that means five book reviews. These books may change depending on my mood, but as of right now here’s what I’m thinking of reading:

1. TTFN by Lauren Myracle
2. L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle
3. The Sight by Erin Hunter
4. Dark River by Erin Hunter
5. Outcast by Erin Hunter

The Lauren Myracle books are books two and three of the Internet Girls series. I already read and reviewed book one, TTYL.

The three Erin Hunter novels are the first three novels of six in the third Warriors series. I haven’t read that series in a while so I decided to get back into them.

As stated, those books may change. Books may also be added depending on how quickly I can get through those five novels.

With that being said, my Reading List was updated with April’s books.

Writing:

For my writing group I need to edit parts two and three of the first George Florence novel. I need to look at part two and the critiques I get on that and then look at part three to send in by the 15. Then I have a meet with the group on the 30 so I also need to critique their pieces by then.

I have to type up the next draft of George Florence 2 and take a closer look at that and the first novel. That way my next edits can possibly be the last.

I plan to write one Short Story Sunday a day giving me 31 short stories by the end of the month.

I’m going to start querying my children’s book. I’ve been slowly gathering information on different agents over the past few weeks, so I think it’s time to get rolling on that.

I also may or may not try to find some contests and magazines to submit to depending on if I have time to write submissions or if I already have something to submit.

Kris and I are also going to start working on a big project–not a book, but it’s writing related. There will be more on that much later, though.

So, there’s a lot of editing and querying to do this month and only a little bit of writing. I have too many manuscripts written, but not edited. I may or may not leave the writing to NaNo months for the time being. We’ll see.

Blogging:

Nothing has changed on the blog. I’m just going to continue posting every day hoping each post is better than the last.

Overall, May is going to be a super busy month. Between reading, writing, blogging, and work, I have my plate full. At least I don’t have to worry about school anymore… I can’t wait for my diploma to arrive in the mail!