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A writer’s technique: the idea notebook

Share your imagination

 My kids and I like to take turns sharing made-up stories.  Last night, my seven-year-old son began his story with:  

 “Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived in a motor home in the driveway of his parent’s house.  He had 27 cats.  There were 13 black cats, 13 white cats and 1 orange cat.”  

First of all, he’s perfectly normal.  I had a huge imagination as a child, so why shouldn’t my offspring?  Didn’t you dream about living in an RV?   

In our storytelling adventures, we try to top the night before with something outrageous.  We’ve jumped topics from the bizarre to the sweet:  a team of aliens playing flag football to a tiny girl who sings the daily weather report.  And we giggle.  One night, we opened the bedroom window to look at the full moon whom my kids have aptly named “Mr. O”.  Days later, my daughter started to cry and announced, “Mr. O is broken!”  Sure enough, the full moon was gone and a sliver had taken its place.  My response: “Let me introduce you to Mr. C.”  

I keep a notebook of story ideas – a best practice I learned from several how-to-write books.  Whenever I meet an interesting character or come across some attention-grabbing 411 – I squirrel it away for future use.  The little tidbits are often things said by my kids or heard in the employee break area.  Are you feeling low on imagination?  Try this exercise.  Brainstorm fun stories with your kids, your pets or your spouse – anyone who allows you to be your creative-self.  You’ll be shocked at all the fun writing material that suddenly makes its way to the page.     

 There are little sparks of imagination on the surface of every playing field; it’s just a matter of holding on to our brilliant ideas and giving them the oxygen to thrive.  On a scale of 1(lowest) – 10 (highest), how strong is your imagination?

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2 Responses

  1. I love this post! Thank you. It inspired me to do a better job of “holding on to brilliant ideas.”

    I want to hear more of your son’s story! ;)

    • I’m so glad my post inspired you! My kids inspire me everyday with the funny and charming stories they share. My son is seriously saving up for a motor home. :)

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