Monday, December 6, 2010
Brainstorming - aka Finding your Story in a Christmas Song
Ever had that happen?
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places, but songs are great sources.
It can be funny too.
You wanna know which song inspired my latest premise? Santa Baby. Yeah, nuts!! If you want to hear the lyrics sung by Marilyn Monroe, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbbQwecCzo8
It’s in total opposition to the true meaning of Christmas – even the whole gift of giving idea. But as any good author knows, if an idea starts to jingle inside your head and you start asking the ‘what ifs’, you’re about to catch the fresh aroma of a story.
With Santa Baby, I started asking:
What kind of woman would sing a song like this?
What would happen if she didn’t get all of those things…or lost them all?
How about The Twelve Days of Christmas? You know, I have some Christian insights on that song, but it sparks my imagination in a fictional direction too. What unique gifts might my characters give to each other for Christmas? How could those gifts carry a secret or surprising message? A ring? A gown? A lost letter? Five gold rings? :-)
Or the song, What Are you Doing New Year’s Eve. Oh – there are all sorts of visions that pop in my head for that one! The uncertain fellow, the sassy gal. Or what if the story begins on New Year’s Eve? Two souls who meet on New Years and it starts an entire chain of events.
Don’t you love brain storming?
So, what are some writer brainstorming tips? Here are a few:
1. Read, read often, and read like a writer who knows how :-) Some of the seeds of a story come from reading a good story. Perhaps it will inspire a time period, a certain character, or a similar plotline.
3. People watching – characters-in-the-making are everywhere
4. Taking good notes on family vacations. Some of my best story ideas come from trips. Setting can really inspire all kinds of wonderful ideas.
5. Family memories/family ancestry – I have no less than five story ideas inspired by my family history – and I mean family history going back five generations or more. As I’ve said before, Real Life can truly be Stranger than Fiction.
What are some brainstorming tips you have?
What’s one of your favorite Christmas songs?