Gathering Ideas for writing

How does an author gather ideas?

How does a poet gather ideas?

My answer:

We look and observe, capture a tiny detail, embroider it

look at it from a different angle, then surprise the reader and ourselves.

I use exercise books like this to keep all my ideas together:

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I always write the date in, I jot down a thought, a sight, a little treasure of a word, or a sudden idea.

(or even the complete poem)

If I don’t write it down straight away it goes away never to return.

Here is a suggestion for you to begin your own ‘ideas’ book.

Try keeping an ideas book each day for a week.

  1. Just write down a conversation that was funny or unusual you were a part of or overheard.

Here’s an example:

While on a walk recently  I overheard these comments:

‘I bet a thousand dollars…’

 

‘It’ll make you dizzy.’

 

‘But then you would never…

These fragments could become part of a story, or a poem or lead to more ideas.

2.  Just write down a few words about what was happening in your world, even the weather.

3.  Even a quick sketch of your pet and a few words about what they like to do best.  Sketching and writing is a great idea.

For my latest collection of poetry ‘Guinea Pig town and other poems about animals’ Walker books, I was able to observe animals and then write from this.  Taking a photograph to look back later was great also.

Here are two photos of two animals.  Both were in London and both are the subjects of poems in my book.

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If you are able to look in a copy of ‘Guinea Pig town and other Animal poems’ then look up:

‘A big bathroom’

‘Flamingos’

Then you can see the finished poems.

What do you like to write about?  I’d love to hear from you.

Lorraine M

5 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Kaz Delaney said,

    I know you also write books Lorraine, but I felt privileged to enter your world as a poet.

    As an author of more edgy stuff as much YA requires, I felt a lightness and gentleness in even just looking at the photos you presented. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think poets have a slightly different perspective and when entering their worlds, I find myself soothed by that.

    I agree though that no matter what genre or type of written work we pursue, that ideas are everywhere. For me, it might just be a teenage girl in a crowded food court at Christmas (who ended up a character in a story) or a snatched conversation overheard while sipping a coffee at Macdonalds… (Hmmnn – a lot of food references here!!! 🙂 )

    I’ve always carried notebooks with me – I think every author does – but I’ve never journalled them daily as you do. I might try that.

    And I couldn’t help but think that those exercise books are going to be very valuable to future generations! There’ll be a wealth of information!

    Congratulations for being STAR author for October. It’s my birthday month and one of my favourite months – mostly because it heralds the return of warm weather! Yay!

    Enjoy!

    I’ll be looking up your Guinea Pig Town book. and thank you for your insights.

    Cheers, Kaz.

    • 2

      starauthor said,

      Kaz, so wonderful to hear about your notebooks too and I love that reference that you are soothed by poets words! And by the way what a wonderful month to have a birthday- Happy day- I thin it is today!

  2. 4

    Rebecca said,

    Hello I love writing life stories and seconds and thirds and fourths of books which I would love to have a second book or a series so I can Find Out What Happens Next.

    • 5

      starauthor said,

      Rebecca, I am thrilled that you love writing life stories, I hope that my jottings help you in that- and I agree a series is a wonderful continuous window on characters and a world you love.


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