About Writing

How to Find Inspiration for Your Novel

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Inspiration sparks imagination. Imagination drives the words. Sometimes the inspiration refuses to come out of the shadows.

Look in unexpected or unusual places to find your next inspirational nugget.

Ignite the flames of inspiration

Look to Social Media

The first SELTI Tourism Fiction Contest focused on the Moundville Archeological Park. The short story had to feature the mounds or the park.

A few years before, a friend of mine had shared a post on social media about a human skull rolling up over his son’s foot while he was fishing by the lake. I took the skull, put it in a pit in Moundville, and had the inspiration for the story that took first place in 2012.

It turns out, I enjoy tourism fiction.

Look to the News

My NaNoWriMo project the following year involved the Gulf Coast of Alabama. I knew I wanted my adventurers to highlight the Gulf State Park, Fort Morgan, Fort Gaines, and Dauphin Island. The question I struggled with was how to get them there in the first place and then why would they visit the locations.

I had read about a boat being uncovered by a hurricane in Gulf Shores and I turned the boat into a rock marked with a secret code. That provided the catalyst for the first three Scouting Out Adventure Books.

Scouting Out Adventure - Mystery Rock

When Michael came ashore in October 2018, another wreck was revealed.

What other secrets might be uncovered by the force of wind and storm surge?

Look to Challenges

The online writer chat met every Friday. Some days nights we would offer random words and challenge each other to see what flash fiction we could create from the mix. I had been working on a different storyline for a novel, but the short story took on some of its elements.

By the time I had finished, I knew the short story would be the inspiration for the end of the novel. Having the ending for THEY helped me move through the rest of the story with focused determination.

Look to the Irritations

The spam letters and emails had gotten out of control. We were lamenting about them during a chat and wondering how anyone could ever fall for the “hey, I’m in another country without a wallet or phone so could you send me money to get home” scam.

I started laughing and decided to come up with a plausible scenario for how it could happen. The result was a short story that involved an annoyed squirrel (you have to be wary of annoyed squirrels).

Trying to find the plausible from the impossible can be a great way to stir inspiration.

Annoying Squirrels

Are you struggling to find your way into your #NaNoWriMo? Let some of these ideas inspire you to set your imagination loose. Even a small idea can ignite the flames of your story if you are willing to set it free.



Kathryn Lang
“Have fun. Make friends. Be relentlesslaward-winning doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.”

Kathryn Lang believes it is simple. As an award winning author, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a twist of snark and smile. “If you aren’t having fun then why do it.”

Website: Kathryn Lang

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