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17

I keep a good old fashion Moleskin notebook with me, one that is hard back so it can survive in my pocket (as well as a pen). It's useful not only for writes notes but for everything else I need to jot down while away from the computer. It also comes with a band to hold it closed, which is useful so I can keep cards in it and the like. There's also ...


11

One thing you can try (something I have just started trying), is the "fieldstone" method (cf. Weinberg on Writing). The analogy goes that when you are building a wall, as you walk in the field if you find a good stone, you put it in your pocket. Writing kind of works the same way: as you go about your day, you read things, you find something that interests ...


11

Why just as antagonists? But well ... One of the best monsters out there is a human being. A nice guy. No-one expects (i.e the reader) that he is a monster. A well known pattern with uncountable variations--use them. Reading mythology of all kind (Greek, Northern, Indian) is a good source for monsters (Tolkien has proved that). When your kid next time is ...


9

What do you do if you enjoy writing, but have no ideas? A few ideas: technical writing any form of nonfiction edit other people's stories I don't really do unrestrained creativity, I need a concrete problem, which "make up something interesting" isn't. If you try to do it all at once, "make up something interesting" can certainly be a tall ...


8

Have a look around for the AD&D 2nd Ed. Monstrous Compendium (or whatever the current equivalent is under their new rules), which listed hundreds of possible monsters (I think there were several of these books). Easy enough to get ideas from these, or other RPG books. For my own part, I tend to scour around for books on myths and legends from countries ...


8

When a story becomes timeless, I think it is because it tells some universal "truth". The story is just an example of this truth, while the underlying morale can be applied to almost any time in history. And what was present on the earth 2000 years ago, and still is today? People. Human beings. Characters. If you look at the example of 9/11, what mechanisms ...


7

I think the main issue here is "accessibility out of context" i.e. how accessible is the raw emotion behind the event to someone viewing it with very little context to go on. The most immediate and easily accessible example of accessible emotion is the killing of Bambi's mother in Bambi, it's one of the most popularly referenced moments of movie sadness in ...


7

I use OneNote and I think it's the best computer program ever happened. You can track your ideas and thoughts in the most easier way I've seen. As much as I love paper, I should really own oneself with the paper beaten over the person with this beautiful little soft gem. As a mathematician I organized my notebooks strongly, and I will to publish it, if I ...


6

Applications: I cannot say enough good things about Scrivener, from Literature & Latte (for Mac). It's not a word-processing program, it's a writing program. You can organize notes, drag "notecards" and folders around, block out the rest of your screen, paste in photos and movie clips, and use a virtual corkboard to rearrange thoughts. It was THE main ...


6

One way to start coming up with creative non-fiction stories that are from your own life is by finding lists of journaling questions. For example the author of the blog Live with Flair (who was interviewed not too long ago by NPR) is posting a journaling question at the bottom of her posts daily. These questions can help you think of an event in your own ...


6

Not online. Try a writer's group, where it is absolutely and explicitly clear that you are discussing this in the service of a story, and where other folks are discussing things just as potentially problematic. One writer I work with is writing a crime story and actually paid a retired detective as a consultant to make sure she got her details right. She ...


5

I haven't read it myself, but I think this book, The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kitely, sounds like exactly what you're looking for. It's got very nice reviews - both in terms of score, and the actual description. Here's the first one that sounded like a great match for your question: The exercises also have an additional dimension to them that most don't. ...


5

This question reminds me of Dan Heller's advice about getting started in the photography business. He's talking about a different situation (photography apprenticeship), but he makes a point that applies equally well to the writing business: [They] start by being photographers of things ... that they know really, really well. Usually the kinds of things ...


5

But coming up with the idea in the first place was just a happy accident. You are far from alone. Every time I've sat down and said to myself "Okay, think of an idea for a new story," I inevitably sit there for an hour then give up with a blank page. People (or at least I) just don't work that way. So what I've done is find a way to make coming up ...


4

Pay less attention to what the monsters look like, but rather what they do. Is your monster simply a beast with fangs, muscles and acute hearing, or does it have special abilities? Are these abilities magical, or pseudo-scientific? What is the monster's weakness? Like a good character, a good monster has weaknesses. Is it afraid of anything? Is there a ...


4

Not a writing prompt in a traditional sense, but this has worked for me: improv comedy classes. Every time you perform a scene, you're creating a completely new story on the fly. It's a great way to generate ideas. The story grows organically, and you'll get unexpected (i.e. creative) results. It's a fun way to get new ideas for writing.


4

From the Official Code of Georgia (Annotated): A person commits the offense of conspiracy to commit a crime when he together with one or more persons conspires to commit any crime and any one or more of such persons does any overt act to effect the object of the conspiracy... (OCGA 16-4-8). Further, in the 'annotated' portion of the code, "Conspiracy to ...


4

I don't know of any women willing to adopt a nickname that calls attention to their being overweight. For one thing, most such nicknames are pejorative or uncomplimentary. For another, many women believe that being overweight is unlikely to improve their public image. Hence an overtly-fat-sounding nickname may lend implausibility to the story, translation ...


3

Look up "encyclopedia fairies" on Amazon and peruse some of the available books. Pick any being and start varying it. Cross a few. Add an unexpected characteristic. (Within reason. I think even Tolkien would be hard-pressed to pull off something like a half-vampire/half-weredragon who keeps kosher.)


3

I think fairy tales and folklore provide a huge resource for monsters. Around the world you can find an infinite amount of scary stories to crib from. You can take them and use them as they are, just bring them to the modern world, or you can re-vamp the to be a modern incarnation of the original. One thing to bear in mind though is that no monster thinks ...


3

I always have a notebook with me. When the notebook is full, I go through it page by page, digitizing the ideas that are "keepers" (and transferring those I want to mull some more into my new notebook). Of course, if I happen to be at the computer, I will often just throw things right into my notes file -- I have a branch set aside just for "unsorted" ...


3

I personally love spiral notebooks when I'm out and about. You know, the cheaper than dirt, back to school sale, 10 for a dollar kind. I love that I can use one per project or destroy them with a latte and not feel bad about it. I end up importing images of the pages into OneNote if I want to keep what I've written. I love using OneNote for a quick cache ...


3

I've been using Springpad as an alternative to Evernote lately. I also use a simple to do list program on my Mac called Things that lets me organize the todos into projects. Works really well for keeping lists of edits that need to be made on any given writing project, especially long ones.


3

As FoxCutter has said elsewhere, for many of us Moleskine is hard to beat. You can pick a size that works for you to carry anywhere, ranging from just smaller than an iPad to one that fits in a pocket and clutch. The fact that it is a notebook lets you keep everything in one place. The fact that you can get it in a "to-go" size means you can have it with ...


3

I have to wonder if "merely talking about" crimes, no matter what the level of detail, can result in a charge of conspiracy. Almost everyone talks about crimes at some level, because they are a matter of general interest. Those involved in the investigation of crimes talk about them in massive detail at great length. And crime writers research, talk about, ...


3

Take some very generic, very simple, completely trivial and trite theme - something entirely unoriginal - and try to write it best to your ability... no, not even best, just adequately, correctly. Start writing it, and if your imagination is taking you places, let it. Last week I started off with a Romeo & Juliet balcony scene knock-off. Yesterday it ...


3

The best ways to get an idea or destroy a blockade are to... read a book of a theme or genre you really like take a shower take a walk jog talk with other writers about their experiences search for websites which especially are made for authors/writers decide about what kind of theme you want to write (fantasy, history, love) think about the things you've ...


3

When you want to use a gift as a symbol, then it should be an object that has meaning to the protagonists. It only has meaning to the protagonists when it has meaning to your story. You should have introduced it during your story, the protagonists used/handled/interacted with it somehow. If it has meaning to the story, the reader understands the symbol ...


2

I have found Google Reader to be a useful source for non-fiction story ideas. I've created an account which is subscribed to a large number of feeds - news feeds, interesting blogs, cutting edge research feeds, and local information/events info. When I lack for inspiration, I'll go through the feeds, and through their recommendation engine, and have a long ...


2

For my writing journal I use a regular notebook that I write in when I'm away from my computer or when I'm just tired of typing. I take it if I'm going on a trip or to school or to a friends house so I can always write in it. For actually writing the story I use either MS Word or Scrivener depending on my mood. Shorter pieces I tend to use Word because I ...



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