Whether it’s flash fiction or the makings of a bestseller, fiction can sometimes pose a tricky thing for writers–at least, I don’t believe I’m the only one who suffers from lack of inspiration on occasion.

Sometimes when I’m feeling highly creative and the channels flip rapidly through my brain, I wind up so distracted and disjointed from my thoughts that I find it hard to just write. Solid plot line writing.

So I’ll turn it off and look for outside inspiration…

People watching can be a powerful ally for a writer. Take time to sit in the park, in a cafe, at the beach, wherever and just watch humanity unfold.

People pass by and they do–oh my god–human things! They talk on their cell phones, they mutter, they plod, they swagger, they smile, they scowl or frown; there’s so much you can gain for your fiction writing by watching from the edge.

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Character building, character traits, and character actions can be modeled after observations. You can pull traits and idiosyncrasies from different real life people and build a single character from it all.

Consider people watching the next time you walk your dog or go grocery shopping, and you’ll be sure to grab some inspiration for building characters.

For more info, exercises, charts, and fancy sh*t for character building and similar inspiration, check out these sites:

FYCD

WritingForward

NowNovel

Pay attention to movies and TV shows. Watch your favorite stories unfold and think about the elements: what do you like about the setting? What do you think of the characters? Would you change something? Asking these types of questions can help inspire the creation of plot lines, settings, and characters.

But mostly pay attention to the overall story. Why do you like it so much? What makes it work? What makes it easy to relate to? What makes it believable? Build off of that and use what you find through your observations for your own story and plot ideas.

For more inspiration and information on what makes a story work, and building your plot, check out these posts:

A Writers Fountain-“tips for planning & structure”

Kathy Temean-“story is different from plot”

Searching for visual prompts through an old-fashioned internet search is absolutely one of my favorite ways to find inspiration (and occasional distraction 😉 ) for some of my flash fiction pieces, and I highly recommend YouTube, Pinterest, and even a good ole Goolge search for visual writing prompts.

This option provides endless amounts of inspiration; just don’t get too distracted by the dramatic landscapes Swiss Alps search you’re looking at on Google images.

Check out some of these amazing YouTube videos for inspiration crafting a setting:

Plot generator apps are a new and interesting tool for me lately. I’ve written a few flash pieces based on a conglomeration of elements pulled from one of my plot generator apps, and I can honestly recommend trying this.

Simply go to your app store and search for free plot generator apps, and find one that suits you. Ideally you should have the option to have the app generate plot lines across most of, if not all, the basic genres (drama, sci-fi, horror, etc.).

Never forget to pick up your favorite novel, or prose or poem. A good writer must be a good reader. Period. By reading you naturally end up thinking about your writing. You’re taking in your favorite author’s voice and tone, and you’re subconsciously using this as inspiration for finding your own voice and tone.

The more you read the more your writing will improve. You’ll spill out your best because you’ll want only your best to be read.

I hope these few tips can help you on your creative journey 🙂

What are some of the other ways you’ve found inspiration for your fiction?

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