May 23, 2011

Getting Creative

Every writer wants their books to be popular, right? I know that I secretly dream of fame and living in a nice house with more than one bathroom, and a front door that doesn't let in the wind. So what is it that makes books sell like hotcakes? One (which really doesn't help ME at all) is fame. Ever heard of a guy named Obama? He's written a book, which of course has made New York Times Bestseller list. Another, perhaps more feasible, method is writing an old fable with a twist. Ever heard of "The Three Little Pigs"? What about "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs"? What makes these so much fun is the creativity of taking a familiar tale and learning of another character's point of view.

During the 2011 LDStorymakers Writer's Conference, I took a class from Liz Adair who taught us about changing point of view up a little. Ms. Adair gave us a synopsis of the story of Noah and his ark, and challenged us to create a new story from someone else's point of view.

The story ideas were endless: Noah's wife had a crazy husband, and needed to choose between him and her friends. Ever consider how a wealthy daughter-in-law's life would change from working in successful career with an enormous wardrobe to living in a wooden box stuffed with animals? How would that affect her relationship with her new husband? Ideas also included the introduction to a giraffe who never experienced his true height until he stretched his neck up far enough to watch the dove return with the olive branch. It was an exercise I think I will always treasure.

Coming up with new, fresh ideas doesn't need to stress us out. With a little creative writing exercises, I think we'll be able to find ways to see new stories within existing ones. I know that I sometimes feel intimidated by staring at a blank Word document, or tapping my pen on an empty page. I think that my idea needs to be perfectly original, something that no one has ever thought of before. The time that I do find for writing is precious, and I feel like it's wasted if I don't jot down the perfect idea. I guess what I'm getting at is that we should take time for writing exercises, something that gets the creative juices flowing. Maybe, if I'm motivated, I might just start posting writing exercises. It would be good for us!

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