Because I’m always having young readers ask me where I get my ideas, I’ve come up with a list of sources that I sometimes hand out when I’m visiting schools. Not on the list (and it’s a long one) is sitting at home and staring at the walls and waiting for divine inspiration. A change of scenery and stimulation of the senses is almost sure to get you thinking, and then it’s just up to you to begin the “what if?” process that forms a story with a beginning, middle, and end.
This past weekend, for instance, I attended two concerts (one with adults performing, one with kids who were talented enough to be adults performing), went for a five-mile run on the trail, drove into Seattle a couple of times, saw boats going through the government locks and great blue herons flying around their rookery, had dinner in a Ballard restaurant that was once one of the original libraries in the city, and saw two plays. Oh yeah, I also finished up (for now) a writing project and sent it off, and, I have to confess, watched some basketball. But it was exciting, stimulating basketball.
Will any of this activity result in a story idea or add to one that’s already in the works? Maybe. Maybe not. But if I’d stayed home and stared at the walls, I know what the answer would be.