Where to go for inspiration – a few ideas

blogger3aI find the idea of ‘writers block’ peculiar, it’s not something I’ve suffered from.  OK, sometimes I have to stop and think about where my story is going and does it make sense etc., but I’m never stuck for something to write.  Also if my latest  project is not flowing I might switch to a short story I’ve had an idea for, or to this blog (I’ll admit having to produce something every week can be a challenge).  Just that ‘change of scene’ for my mind is often enough to get me back on track.  I think the subconscious carries on sorting things out even when you’re working on something else.  Anyway back to my sources of inspiration:

1)      Those writing group short stories.

I recently blogged about why I think joining a writing group is a good idea.  One of the things I get from that is a ’word of the week’.  That often suggests a short story for me.  Short stories can be an end in themselves.  I use some on the site and others I have entered for competitions.  Also, they can form the basis for a longer project.  However you come up with the ideas I think short stories are of great value to the writer (see my other blog: ‘The power of the short story – 5 reasons we should write them, and read them).

2)      History

I write science fiction, but I also enjoy historical fiction and some history non-fiction (for me especially Greek and Roman).  Given that the core of most stories are conflict and intrigue, history is full of that.  Recently someone suggested that I read a book on the Russian aristocracy of the 19th century and all the scheming that went on.  It sounds a fertile ground for science fiction to me.

3)      The News

I’m not a great reader of newspapers but I do follow the BBC website to keep up-to-date on what is going on in the world.  It’s the same as reading history.  There are so many great stories out there.  As for contempory news you also get the chartacers and great personal stories that can form the basis of fiction.

4)      Other fiction

This may seem obvious and I’m not suggesting plagiarising other books.  However, I sometimes come across a theme that had never occurred to me.  It may provide an idea for a story, or parts of a story.  There’s nothing mibreadinglike reading widely to spark your own imagination.  Also reading outside your own genre can provide surprising cross over.  I believe most good stories are about the characters and therefore good characters can come out of anywhere.

5)      Flash fiction

Ever tried it?  If you have you’ll know what I mean.  If not give it a go.  I regularly enter ‘Flash Friday (see my inspiration page for the link).  Write 150 words around that week’s picture.  It never takes me more than 30 minutes, but it sets the imagination running.  It reminds me, when I’m perhaps getting bogged down, why I enjoy writing.  Also, getting some recognition once in a while is always encouraging.

6)       Blogging

I’ve said it before but blogging on my subject makes me think about it in more depth, which in turn helps my writing and provides ideas for new projects.


So, I don’t think there is any excuse for me not finding inspiration and having things to write.  Let me know what gets your imagination going.

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

If you have a view on this, let me know: