Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

Non-writing techniques to help you find and develop story ideas


Do you draw? Do you have a talent for sketching? Or are you like me and have problems getting stick people to even look like stick people?

A great technique to help you with a story idea is to try sketching what you’re thinking about a character, a location, actual motion or movements within the scene, even what the weather and geography is. The beauty of this method is that it helps you focus your thinking even if no one else can appreciate or understand what you’ve sketched.

I got that simple tip from a friend who offers another tip I’ve posted about before — creative “power” naps where you lay down in a comfortable place and let your story and characters sort of come to your mind and observe what they’re doing as you drift off for a nap. I’m not sure how effective the power naps are, though they’re restful, but I’ve had some fun with the sketching idea. It really helps me visualize characters, think about locations and seasons, and even move the story action forward.

Another writer friend says she uses a large blank piece of paper or sketch pad to create the topography of her fantasy story locations. She sometimes begins a fantasy novel by first sketching out a large land mass with a coast or coasts, some mountains, a couple of rivers, and then pinpoints some small villages, cities, volcanoes, etc. As the terrain and geography of that particular fantasy “world” progresses, she comes up with characters, ethnic groups, and customs that eventually turn into a full blown world — even a fantasy series.

Next time you get stuck with words, pull out some blank paper, some pens or pencils, and sketch your way to writing success.