Last time, I promised some exercises in creativity. I’ve got several that I use to spark ideas and what makes them extra cool is that they don’t take much time or money. You can do any one of them in minutes in mundane places such as your place of work, your kitchen, bathroom, or a supermarket.
First, always carry a notebook, tape recorder or some other way of taking notes. I have an iPhone. That allows me to take voice or written messages but I still carry tiny little composition notebooks everywhere.These are small enough to fit in a pocket or fanny pack. I have one of each, both small enough to fit into my purse. This makes it possible for you to capture all your great ideas as they leap into your brain.
Now, here’s Exercise #1: Reverse Engineering. You can do this while you’re grocery shopping or at the bookstore. Browse the bookshelves. Find a book with an interesting cover. Ignore the title; do not read the blurb on the back. (It won’t do you any good anyway, because it has nothing to do with the actual plot of the novel.)
Now, tell yourself a story. What’s happening in the scene on the book cover? Who are the characters? What are they doing? What’s their story? If the cover art is especially interesting, you might want to write a little synopsis of what you think this novel is about.
If you’re in a grocery store, people may think you’re a little strange to stand there staring at the cover of a paperback scribbling like mad or mumbling into your recorder; if you’re in a bookstore, no one will find your behavior in the least odd.
You may find more inspiration this way than you expected. If this happens, please do breeze through the book to make sure the novel you write won’t plagiarize.