But how do you get your imagination to fire up when and where you want? Here are some thoughts:
Go to a place with lots of people–a mall, a busy restaurant, a sporting event. Surreptitiously listen to the conversations around you. You’ll hear lots of interesting things that, taken out of context, could mean something totally different than what the speaker intended. Those isolated phrases may spark a story idea.
Take a drive through an unfamiliar neighborhood. Study the houses. Are they well taken care of or falling apart? Lots of windows, or shuttered up and gloomy? Are the cars new and shiny, or broken down? Are the yards full of junk and overgrown, or cluttered with children’s toys? What kind of people do you think live in those houses, and how did they come to be where they are in life?
Watch the first fifteen minutes of an hour-long television show, or the first half hour of a movie. Then, turn it off. Get out your notebook and write the rest of the story yourself.
Read through the Sunday paper. Check out everything–not just the articles. Read the wedding announcements, obituaries, job listings, even the ads. How did the farmer from Oklahoma meet the stockbroker from New York, much less marry her? What kind of person would apply for a job as prison guard? Why did a wealthy man with lots of heirs leave all his money to a bird sanctuary?
Cut out pictures from magazine of people who intrigue you. Not movie stars; choose people you don’t recognize. Now, imagine they are all connected in some way. Are they family...friends...enemies...co-workers...co-conspirators? Weave them all into a story.
These are just a few ideas you can try to come up with plots. Using tarot is, of course, another way! So today, I'm going to look for plot ideas via tarot cards.
Today's deck is the Arthurian Tarot. Here are a couple of sample cards from the deck:
Images courtesy of Aeclectic Tarot
The card I drew today for a possible plot idea is The Sleeping Lord. It shows an image of King Arthur sleeping, on the stony face of a hill. Supposedly, Arthur can be awakened during times of great need in Britain.
This card indicates to me that the main character in a new novel will have left his home town, family and friends, for what he considered greener pastures. But an emergency has arisen that requires he return home. As he deals with whatever the crisis is, he will have to find it within himself to forgive all those who wronged him in the past, so he can recover, heal his heart and begin again.