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Blog: This Writing Life


It's All About--Winter Writing Ideas

This post first appeared on the Children's Book Academy blog.

Cheers to Winter 2020!

Here are some suggestions to help generate story ideas during the winter season. Use your five senses as inspiration as you develop characters, plots, obstacles and twits for your latest manuscripts.

1) SIGHT – Take a winter walk in your neighborhood. Look closely at all the sights you encounter. In my world, I see snowflakes, snowmen, and icicles. I view children sledding and having snowball fights. I might see families skiing. What do you see? Can those sights become points in your latest story efforts?

2) SMELL – Think about the smells you encounter. Do you smell perfume worn for a festive occasion? Does your home smell like cookies or brownies? Do you smell wood burning in a fireplace? Include those smells in your latest manuscript.

3) TASTE – Reflect on the tastes present throughout the day. Can you describe the hot chocolate with whipped cream on top? Or a warm cup of cappuccino with cinnamon? How about winter soup or chili? Do you have a favorite winter recipe? Think about memories or create scenes surrounding these tastes. Will any scene make it into a manuscript draft?

4) TOUCH – Does your dog, cat, or other pet like to curl up at your side, waiting for a belly rub? Does the feel of a woolen winter sweater, or of snow and ice, remind you of other winters from your childhood or other times in your life? Can you mine those memories for sensations and emotions that can carry forward into your work?

5) HEARING – Listen for winter bird calls or other sounds of nature. Pay attention to your children or others you may encounter at a library, store, or restaurant. Listen to your favorite music and also music that may be more unfamiliar. What memories called up from nature, conversations, and songs can you jot down and include in a story?

If we pay attention to our five senses as we move through our days, perhaps recording fragments using a camera, a journal, a sketch book, or our phones, we can harness ideas that will help shape our manuscripts.

Happy creating this winter. Let me know how it’s going in the comments.


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