by Elizabeth Huff

Inspiration can be found all around us. The following is my list of hidden sources of inspiration. Some you may not have heard of, others you may not have cared about, but all have been sources of ideas I have used in my own writing. Enjoy!

  1. Paranormal Activity – I’m not just talking about ghosts and aliens. You may be surprised at how much falls under this broad category. Check out a few general paranormal sites and see if it doesn’t jump start your imagination.
  2. Cryptozoology – This is the study of “hidden” animals. Animals that there are first hand accounts of but no scientific evidence for. While cryptozoology can include things like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, it also has animals such as the okapi and the coelacanth (both of which were proven to have existed long after they were thought extinct.)
  3. History – Frankly, I hated the subject in school. One of my worst. There is no doubt that some knowledge of history is very beneficial to writing. I especially like learning about ancient civilizations. It’s not hard to base an alien culture on an ancient culture.
  4. Myths and Legends – Especially the ones you never hear about. Try writing your own version or change the setting, or update the tale, the list goes on and on.
  5. Science – Rather broad, I know, but depending on what you write knowing a little science never hurts. You can explain why something happens, or make that magical explanation a little more real. Or just get ideas from real life scientists and events.
  6. Sports – I am the laziest person you will ever meet. My idea of exercise is shoveling the food to my mouth. However, more than once I have been drawn into a well written story that revolves around sports.
  7. Medicine – Strange plagues and stranger cures. And let’s face it earlier tries at medicine could get down right torturous, so why not try some of it out on that character trapped in the dungeon…
  8. Old/Classic Movies – I specify “old/classic” movies because the stories were different. In my opinion they were often better. Especially the pacing. Now no one has the patience to sit around and wait for a story to unfold, they need the latest CGI and they need it now. Older movies can teach you a lot about story plot and pacing. I suggest reading screenplays as well.
  9. School/Work – Stories revolve around conflict. School/Work has conflict, usually lots of it.
  10. Hobbies – Turning fun into more fun. While I have never centered a story around any of my hobbies, certain characters have had similar interests. If you are a coin collector, why not make your character a dealer in coins?

Where are some odd places you have found inspiration?

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