The Creative

My second-oldest grandson made me a birthday card,  what do you think he drew ? The answer will surprise you. Done guessing?

Well, it was a dinosaur that swallowed a rainbow fish.  My grandson thought out of the box. Are you thinking out of box? Are you using your creative juices?

As a writer, I guarantee you probably do that. But sometimes our drinking well dries up. How do we replenish our creative side? Downtime helps at times.

I recently put my prequel novel on hold. It included some great scenes but the whole concept was not right. Readers must love your character and if I continued with the way it was going they would not root for him. Thus, I got input from critique groups and entered a contest and received feedback there. These insights will make this project better. But while I sort out on how to fix the problem, a different idea came to fruition.

And, this is co-authoring a book with great friend Ruth Ann Nordin. Our work in progress is titled, Bride by Arrangement, where two women meet on a train to travel to Nebraska in the late 1800s. When I have mentioned this story, people ooh and ah.

The romance will include two novellas – one written by Ruth and the other by me. My novella is called She Came by Train, where Opal leaves her beloved Virginia to become a governess of two children of a local banker who lost his wife. The plot thickens when a minister from Virginia conducts revival services in the area. She came by train but only her heart will determine if she leaves that way.

How do we develop concepts? There is no certain path. Mine is to write a scene and see where it leads. Here is an example:

“Her mind whirled. ‘Mice. You don’t bring those into the house do you?’ she asked in a weak voice.

He shook his head in the negative. ‘No, Papa wants them outside so the cats can have their meals. Miss Preston you looking kind of white.’

Her eyes closed. 

‘Miss Preston,’ his shrill voice penetrating her consciousness.

She teetered.”

However, everybody has their own method. There are people who are story plotters. One woman Ruth and I ran into at a conference had a huge sheet with a series of notes on it. She needed a king-size bed to display that paper. But if this helps you create, go for it.

Creators do come in many shapes and sizes and each builds on their own experiences in order to fashion their stories. For example, in my Lockets and Lanterns the secret the husband hides from his wife is something which comes from my background.

Thus, feed on your past and embellish them to make good reading. Remember those fish tales? They only get better as the fish got bigger.

Sometimes visiting historical homes or other places gives you ideas. These also make great resource tools to get a real feel for the time period. Even childhood memories assist you. In my prequel, I wrote a scene where a character falls in a lake. I can describe this since as a child we went camping and I waded in the river.

In addition, do not forget about past actions and conversations. Family and friends make wonderful fodder. In my story, “Sweaters of Love,” in Seasons of the Soul I used a conversation between myself and my oldest granddaughter who was 4 years old at the time and weaved it into this fiction tale.

“Mary told Jolleen about how the weather changed. ‘Grandma,’ Jolleen said. ‘God is a big guy. He will do whatever He wants.’”

So remind yourself you can take a break; look for new projects to refresh your writing; plot your story your way; generate ideas from experiences, conversations and actions; and fill that drinking well with writing. You cannot believe what you can produce when you put your mind to it.

How do you create your stories? I look forward to your comments and as always God bless.























Writing an Original Novel: Ten Tips for Ideas by Michael M. Griffin

One simple idea may make you a success. One simple idea may spawn the next bestseller.

However, for new writers, it’s hard to develop an original trademark. Speaking as an upcoming writer myself, I have gathered a list of ten writing tips over the course of my journey. If you have trouble with developing ideas, please try a few of these surefire pointers to get you started!

Tip 1 – Watch Your Music

Your music is more than simple instruments. Regardless of what you are doing, listen to any song you want. Invent a random scene that you believe accompanies that song.

Imagine your own movie scene/trailer with that song as the soundtrack. In this visual representation of your music, the possibilities are endless; you are limited only by your imagination and your musical library.

Build from that sequence as it becomes clearer. Listen to other songs, create new scenes and string them all together. You may even want to write them down. Maybe you will notice something in your mental movie sequence that will spark an idea, then a character, and perhaps even a plot!

Personally, I favor classical music (soundtrack/neoclassical/trailer). It does not feature any lyrics, which allows your own imagination to dominate your scenes. Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Howard Shore, Epic Score, Two Steps From Hell and Nox Arcana are all great artists to start with!

Tip 2 – Brainstorm!

Write down anything and everything that comes into your head.

Allow multiple trains of thought, without having a care to what you are writing. Keep your thoughts as narrow or as wide as you wish, and interlink different thought-trains to form connections between them.

An idea for a story could possibly manifest from all the thoughts you write down. However, when you feel an idea forming, try to focus on what sparked it.

Tip 3 – The Single Word Technique

Think of a word … a single word, preferably an interesting one. Now write it down and capitalize it. This one word that you imagine is the title of the book.

Based on that one-word-title, imagine something that belongs with that title (i.e. – a character, place, conflict or event). If you can, imagine an entire storyline blossoming from this one word.

Tip 4 – Build on Past Creations

Draw from a storyline you already know – a favorite book or movie. Watch the movie or read the book. If you’re looking for an idea, something small could catch your eye and spark a story of your own.

However, DO NOT plagiarize! Personalize your idea and make it original!

Tip 5 – Create a Character

Imagine a character in your future book. Make a list of his/her characteristics, personality traits, objectives, problems and desires. Describe this character in as much detail as possible, and imagine what kind of adventures he/she would have.

Tip 6 – Travel

A journey could be the perfect remedy for a mental block. Get out of the house and have an adventure. Whether this adventure is to France, the Caribbean, the shore or your local movie theater, visiting new places can rouse ideas and inspire your work.

Tip 7 – Jobs, Hobbies and Interests

Consider one of your jobs or hobbies. Whether you are a lawyer or a guitarist, a mathematician or a painter, a congressman or a mechanical engineer, you have other areas of your life that can benefit your writing. Think about the nature of your job or hobby; what kind of fictional story could be written about it?

What do you find interesting? Cars? Attend a car show. War? Watch a war movie or visit a castle. History? Visit various museums. Science? Read technological magazines or science-fiction novels. Whatever inspires you, make sure you utilize it; think about how it could positively affect your writing.

In addition, read anything and everything that interests you, be it books, newspapers, articles, magazines or blogs. You never know what might come of some light reading.

Tip 8 – Reminisce

Reflect upon your own experiences. Perhaps there is a period in your life that was particularly joyous, grim, heartbreaking, fulfilling or life-altering.

If it isn’t upsetting to you, then weave a fictional tale around this era. People love a passionate story!

Tip 9 – Record Your Dreams

Countless novels, theories and inventions were originally born in dreams.

Keep a dream journal and record every dream you can remember. Document the date of the dream, the dream’s details and the dream’s emotions you experienced. Also note your level of consciousness within the dream (lucidity), as well as the amount of control you had over yourself and the dream’s environment.

You will be surprised with how many ideas you can extract from your dreams.

Tip 10 – Expect the Unexpected

Keep an open mind. Ideas can present themselves anytime, anywhere.

When they hit, always be ready; record them on a notepad app in your phone or iPod. Constantly be on the lookout for new ideas, as they can be quite spontaneous!



Michael M. Griffin is an aspiring writer who is planning to publish Mistress, a science-fiction novel of nanotechnology and religious tyranny, in 2013. It is not yet complete; however, you can support his work and find out more about Mistress by visiting his blog here.