This year’s November 7 Rappahannock Writer & Author Conference’s theme of Building Up Writers promises plenty of methods for improving your writing craft from the “outside.” Certainly, learning tips and tools to tighten your writing process and discipline are important in producing and polishing your work. But, however you doctor your work on the outside, your original personal magic comes from the “inside” - from YOU.
Just as your fingerprints, your signature, and your eye’s iris are unique in all the world, so is your personality, your spark, your idea, and the story you think up to tell in your own unique way.
Whether spoken or written, since ancient times, storytelling has been recognized as a revered human form of communication. But how do you conceive and develop the story idea you want to tell in your own special way?
Dorothy Parker put it this way, “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
So, start with your curiosity and its cousin, your imagination, both of which are like nobody else’s. The story they invite you to explore unspools wherever you let your mind wander. Sometimes, quiet moments push away competing mental traffic to help you concentrate on an idea. Sometimes, the idea blinks on in the midst of flurried activity. Sometimes, an idea wakes you up in the middle of the night. However it arrives, encourage your curiosity and imagination to roll this new idea around your mind, discovering what kind of energy it gathers.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling observed, “Imagination is the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not; it is the foundation of all innovation and invention.”
Draw upon your inspiration to translate the idea your curiosity and imagination produced into creativity, which results in your invention: the story you write.
My own latest invention, my 4th mystery-thriller novel titled Woman at the Garage Sale, took nearly four years to write. For accuracy, I researched with gun experts, a locksmith, a police crime scene detective, a homicide detective, two firefighters, a police drone specialist, an attorney, a physician, and more… This led to more discovery, enhanced my knowledge, and expanded my original idea.
For the plot, my curiosity and imagination asked how a familiar-looking stranger seen across a garage sale could spin a web snaring amateur detective, Jennifer Shannon. And how, after learning that stranger died, Jennifer’s sees her a week later, very much alive, at another sale. What could explain this?
My inspiration triggered that answer, weaving a spellbinding tale about the startling influence this “dead” woman casts over Jennifer and her family.
Maya Angelou wrote, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
So, we humans won’t run out of curiosity, imagination, inspiration, creativity, or our resulting inventions. But only YOU can discover and strum yours.
Go for it!
- Suzi Weinert