Stumped for Ideas? I’m Here to Help
Okay, so you’ve hit the inevitable writer’s block and are out of creative writing topics to brainstorm upon.
Well, these are obstacles that will bounce in your way every now and again unless you take preventative steps in the process.
Even the best of us, bestselling authors included have had a time or times where they drew a massive blank.
Do we hear crickets in the mind?
Not to worry, because sometimes drawing blanks and staring at the blank computer screen for hours at a time writing a few words before hitting backspace can be remedied if you know what to do.
Below are four awesome tips to combat the inevitable writer’s block and will give you, my readers new and awesome outlooks on what to do when you’re stuck staring at a blank computer screen.
Remedy Number One: Turn Your Standalone Work into a Trilogy
So, we’re out of ideas but we can cut our stress in half by writing a standalone novel into a trilogy.
Or a prequel?
Anything that motivates you to start writing again and fill your Word documents (or whatever word processor you like) into a new, awesome work.
Why a trilogy?
Easy. You only need to invent a plot. The characters have been invented. Their personas, characteristics, likes, dislikes, everything you need except a plot.
Though it’ll take a little bit of mental exercise you’re already halfway home and that is ten times further along than most of the general population. Take a moment and congratulate yourself.
So, get cooking for a new plot but if you’re still stumped and staring at a blank screen trying to get Cain to do this or Cain to do that (Cain’s my main character in Northern Knights so I use his example often) don’t worry, just move on to Remedy Number 2.
Remedy Number 2: Mirror a Plot of Another Work
Eh, it might be.
How many of you have seen Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace?
Did you know George Lucas borrowed another plot?
Go to Wikipedia right now and look up The Hidden Fortress.
It’s identical to The Phantom Menace.
However, you have your own unique characters, situations, backgrounds, and every other element to make your work unique. So, though you may end up borrowing a plot from another work, it’s by no means fan fiction.
For instance, I used Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as a basis for Northern Knights. But since Cain and company are a different band than Harry, Ron, and Hermione, it’s a different story. Below I highlight some examples:
1. Summit University = Hogwarts
2. Cain Riscattare = Harry Potter
3. Shotball (think rugby plus American Football) = Quidditch
4. Scotty Volt = Draco Malfoy
5. Adam Syndari = Severus Snape (sort of)
6. Santos Complex = Gryffindor House
7. Freedom Flames = Order of the Phoenix
8. Southpoint Empire = Death Eaters
9. King Rooney = Lord Voldemort (sort of)
10. Richfield = Hogsmeade
Now, there are differences between all the comparisons here. For instance, Richfield, North Columbia is comparable to Hogsmeade Village but it’s based off my hometown of Wintersville, Ohio, a small town about forty-five miles west of Pittsburgh. In other words, it bears zero resemblance to Hogsmeade.
Cain and Harry Potter are comparable but Cain’s personality is more akin to James Potter and Severus Snape. Lira, Cain’s best friend may remind a reader of Hermione Granger, except Lira’s exceptionally talented in athletics.
I can go all day between Harry Potter and Northern Knights, but while we’re comparing the works as one plot mirroring another they’re still different. Your works can do the same.
Just because you’re “borrowing” a plot, you’re still creating your own, unique, original content.
Remedy Three: Use a Plot Generator
Sure, it may seem generic but if you’re truly stuck, at least give it a fair shot. Try Masterpiece Generator at plot-generator.org.uk and let it go to work for your depleted mind.
It’s the hottest generator on the net today and you can tailor it into anything specific you’re looking for.
For instance, if you’re a short story, screen, or novel writer, there are unique generators for each. It also can generate recommendations for first lines in your own story or even plot twists if you’re stuck in the middle of a story.
Find all of its cool details here.
There are thousands of plot generators and creative writing topic prompts out there that you can use. Maybe you have a favorite you love to generate awesome ideas from.
The goal here is to fill your Word document or spreadsheet with ideas and I guarantee you something will click before you know it.
Remedy Four: Music and Movies
Yes, music and movies inspire us to write. Some of us love to listen to music as we’re writing or simply to brainstorm and movies are no different.
Think of movies that inspired you to write your work. Movies that helped me write Northern Knights were Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as discussed earlier, The Hunger Games, and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Read up on movie plots on sites like Wikipedia and soon the inspiration to get cracking on your next awesome plot will flow through your creative veins.
What’re You Waiting For?
Okay, creatives, what are you waiting for? Stop staring at your blank screens and do something few dare to do: take action!
Go through each of my steps until you get a winner. There is no right or wrong way to approach any of the remedies; the key is to get moving.
Don’t stress and just write. We’re in the brainstorm phase and writing is not a race; it’s a marathon and if you finish the marathon, it’s all that matters.
But, the first step is to move forward, jotting ideas onto a screen or a notepad will lead to another idea and soon you’ll be crafting a full outline or if you’re a panster, will be writing at a rate of a thousand words per minute.
Thanks a bunch for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.