Looking for inspiration for your novel? Go for a walk.
That's what I did this windy wet morning. Took my dog and walked around the cliffs. It not only cleared my head, which had been a bit muggy and tired, but also planted an idea that sprouted quickly.
With NaNoWriMo rapidly approaching I wanted to have a firm idea in my head of what my novel would be about. I'd only had two thoughts so far: to write a sequel to last year's NaNo effort; or to make a novel out of the back story of one the characters from it. I was leaning towards the latter but not convinced so when inspiration struck when I was writing yesterday's post on monologues I wrote it on a post-it and stuck in on my forehead.
And the source of that inspiration? A bible story. Or at least the plot but rewritten in a modern day setting.
The trouble was that the more I thought about it the more it seemed likely that it would end up as a bodice ripper a la Jackie Collins. (A new genre maybe? Bodice ripping bible yarns?) While there's nothing wrong with that I don't read them and I'm not sure I could adopt that style. So maybe, I thought, I could write it as a literary thriller in the PD James style. But again I don't read those books so I'd be at a disadvantage. I could try - but is it a good idea to attempt something completely out of my comfort zone when I'm participating in what is effectively a race against the clock?
So, walking in the rain, I was thinking maybe I should abandon the bible story plot and return to my original ideas when kapow!
I love to make people laugh. Is there anything sweeter than hearing your audience chuckle as they listen to you read and to know that they get the humour? (Making people cry is good too. In fact if your writing affects your reader/listener in anyway, it's good writing.)
So the idea came to me for a romantic comedy thriller. Easy eh? Okay, maybe not that easy but it should at least be easier than the other options: I read a lot of comedy thrillers and I know what entertains me. Whether my take on it will entertain others is another question of course.
I returned home from my walk bursting with renewed enthusiasm and ideas. Fresh air and exercise worked for me, unclogged my brain, stimulated my creativity and set me on a path I hadn't even considered before.
So if you're stuck for ideas, go for a walk. Even if you don't have wonderful salty sea air to inhale, walking will get blood pumping, flushing the dullness out of those little brain cells and replacing it with oxygen-fuelled energy. And who knows where that might lead you.