Monday, January 13, 2014

Tuning Into A Brainstorm: Exercising Your Mind's Eye

on by tiverylucky
During our annual twelve hour trek down south for Christmas, my husband turned to his typical entertainment, NPR (National Public Radio). I am NOT a talk radio fan. I absolutely am not. I'd much rather engage in conversation with good music in the background. But it was early and I was tired, and I did not protest his choice.
As we ventured into the plains of Kansas and Oklahoma, and watched the temps climb higher and higher, the radio took us to new places altogether. We stepped into the worlds of Northeastern fishermen, Mexican Corn farmers, British actresses, Christian musicians, and Oklahoma tornado victims.

on by James Barker
Settings only developed in my mind's eye. 
Just like a book. Just like a newborn idea for a story. 

As I sat and listened to the the stories, strained my ear to hear the background noise on location, I realized I wasn't just hearing a good story, but I was experiencing new characters--trains of thought I might've never considered, scenarios that presented outpours of emotions in new  ways-- AND, an opportunity to imagine God's hand in each situation. 
What happens when a writer is exposed to a new perspective, a new setting, new conflict?
Perhaps, just perhaps, a wild rush of God-inspired breath stirs up our creative ocean and causes a storm of new ideas and untraveled waters for our characters to explore...or unique, fresh characters welcomed to our story world.
on by David Castillo Dominici
Studying the world around us is so much more broad than what authors of the past could've imagined. We have media that transports us to different places and cultures, and gives glimpses at the human condition in a vast amount of scenarios.

If you ever feel like your creative juices have dried up, and you are just writing the "same ol' same ol'", perhaps you aren't utilizing all the wonderful tools at your finger tips?
The mere turn of the dial on the car radio brought color and potential to my mind's eye, proving that I've hardly begun to fill my creative bank with ideas and study cases for new stories.

on by feel art
The most brilliant thing about exercising your minds eye is, once you allow the stories to transport you into the shoes of the particular person spotlighted on the radio [or t.v. or magazine....], you'll begin to tap into your own emotions and stir your own opinion...using  common human fibers to comprehend someone different than yourself. 

Exercise your mind's eye. Awaken your writer's heart to new passion that might drive you to your next brilliant story idea! 

Any good ideas lately? Any places or people you'd like to write a story about and experience life in their mind's eye?
Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous, mothering days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across historical cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I haven't been one to listen to books on tape or listen to the radio much. I get distracted by things and end of missing critical parts of the story. But I like the idea of paying attention and letting our imaginations take flight over something we see or hear. One of my story ideas came from watching a commercial on TV. You never know where your ideas might come from.

Pepper said...

Watching a commercial?!? What a cool idea!!! HA!

I LOVE brainstorming. Oh so much fun. Especially about other people's stories.

And yes, ideas come from EVERYWHERE. Movie trailers, radio, songs (especially songs for me), overhearing history!!!

Love it!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oooo, Pepper, I forgot about songs! Yes, I have a story idea that sprung from a song too! I totally forgot about that. Isn't it weird how stories just come to you in different ways?

Krista Phillips said...

This is why I LOVE people watching.

Just going to the mall and sitting in the middle, watching people pass, eavesdropping (er... overhearing...) people's conversations. My brain literally swirls with possibilities!!!

Angie Dicken said...

Oh girls, I am so oblivious sometimes when it comes to being ripe for ideas...maybe it's because I have a two year old hanging off my leg most of the time!
I did write a whole novel based on a National Geographic special I saw one Sunday afternoon.

Sherrinda, I think stories coming to us in different ways is testimony to God's awesome diversity in whispering to His people! ;)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great ideas! I want to listen to NPR now.

One thing we do here is listen to our local PBS station on Sunday nights. They have two programs Hearts of Space and Music of the 21st Century. The first is really fantasy oriented and my husband loves it. I'm a bigger fan of the second program. We listen as we fall asleep, imagining new settings.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Awesome stuff, Ang!!! I love hearing or reading something that sparks a storythread in my head. Our writer minds are scary places, huh? ;)

Angie Dicken said...

Julia, those sound like shows right up our alley! We will have to check them out.

Amy--I bet your mind is a scarier place than mine...I dream up sweet romance in historical you?;) Ha ha! Although, I do scare myself at imagining how bad real life situations could go wrong.

Pepper said...

Amy's mind is SCARY
And often times, HILARIOUS!!!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

I loved this post, Angie. And "all y'all's" comments. You are too funny! ;)

I don't listen to NPR much at all. Okay, maybe never. But, after reading your post, it makes me want to, just to see what ideas it might unlock. I'll take that challenge one day soon to actually listen to it, perhaps with my laptop open so I'm ready for inspiration.

I've found story sparks from the news headlines that click past on my homepage. Some may only ever be sparks, but some have lit something within me, making me want to explore the story ideas.

Maybe I'll have to turn on the tv more to watch commercials. I'm with you, Pepper, about songs. I've listened to songs that move me to tears and leave me pondering a story question.

So fun over here today!

Tessa Emily Hall said...

I'm so thankful to be a writer in the age of technology. I am constantly using Google for the most random research, & searching videos on YouTube to get a feel for my books's settings. Just yesterday I came up with a new story idea based on a news article I read.

Thanks for sharing this!

Ashley Clark said...

This happened to me just the other day! I was at the post office, and an older lady with a huuuuuge beehive hairstyle walked up. I thought-- I have GOT to put this woman in a story! So I think she's going to go in my Grace edits! :) Great post as always, Ang!

Mary Vee Writer said...

What I especially like about NPR is the sounds. they always present the accurate sounds of the location. To me it gives validity. Now, by listening to their word description of those sounds and settings, I can add to my vocabulary of descriptive words.
Yep. I may not agree with what all they say, but I enjoy listen ing to their programs.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I totally agree, this age of technology opens our eyes to the whole world. YouTube provides visuals, the radio sounds, etc.

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Jeanne! I never thought of newspaper, you could also borrow them for hooks, too!:)
And yes, I never listened to NPR for more than a second as I flipped through the stations to find music. I avoid talk radio!!

Angie Dicken said...

Tessa, I agree with you and Mary. I just type in a time period and place and find tons of interesting stories to pull from on the web. Wikipedia is a place that I have explored many ideas! Thanks for stopping by today.:)

Angie Dicken said...

Ooh, Ash...Would love to read THAT character. You do her justice with a route 44 sweet tea in one hand, and a blingy handbag in the other. Mercy! ;)

Angie Dicken said...

Mary, that's what I found interesting. They don't seem to be in a studio the whole time, but on location. Cody swears they are one of the most un-biased stations out there...but what really matters is the fiction we can stir up! HA!!

Angie Dicken said...

Mary, that's what I found interesting. They don't seem to be in a studio the whole time, but on location. Cody swears they are one of the most un-biased stations out there...but what really matters is the fiction we can stir up! HA!!

Casey said...

Great post and wonderful reminders for me, Ang. I've definitely dried up in the writing department and story ideas DEFINITELY come from anywhere. You just have to be open to accepting them...and paying attention to them. :)