Increasing Your Creativity/looking for some ideas?


QUESTION: I'm writing a story about a bad case of mistaken identity where a short mom gets mistaken for her daughter. The part I'm kind of stuck on is how someone mistakes the mom for the daughter. I've been playing with different ideas as to how the mom gets mixed but but I'm drawing blanks. I need a couple of ideas as to what events a mom might get suckered into. Or any other suggestions would help. Thank you.

ANSWER: Hello Joshua:

There seems to be two questions here: (1) how a mom might be mistaken for her daughter, and (2) what king of events a mom might get suckered into.

(1)  I have seen many pictures of moms and daughters where it was difficult to tell who is who. Without knowing the circumstances (who is doing the mistaking, how closely they would examine the person, how well they know mother and daughter, etc.) it is difficult to know how to advise you. If you could come back with more details, I can offer more help.

(2)  I can think of some things that might happen to a mother mistaken for her daughter. Could she possibly be masquerading as her daughter in order to accomplish something her daughter can or won't do? These days, drugs immediately come to mind. The daughter might get mixed up with drug dealers and owe them money or something. The mother might pose as her daughter in order to negotiate with them. Or you might consider a kidnapping, where the mother is taken instead of the daughter. Of course the daughter would not be able to pay ransom, so the mother would be in a bad  situation, with her life threatened. Also, the daughter might have witnessed a crime and is prepared to testify against the perps. I'm sure if you put your mind to it you will be able to come up with a good situation.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high scores over 950+ questions.

Good luck, and thank you for writing!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I was thinking a school event and the woman who does the mistaking is a sub who doesn't know the students so well. I don't know what event in which the mom gets suckered into. I figured short mom and taller daughter? As to who the mom gets mistaken depends on the event. Any suggestions?

Well, Joshua, I am wondering where the sub would encounter the mother -- she wouldn't be in a classroom, would she? And what would her mistake lead to?

It seems to me that you have not given enough thought to the planning of this story. What you have now is "a case of mistaken identity." It isn't a matter of "knowing" the event, as it is finding an event that will accomplish the aims of the story. What is the aim of this story? Are you trying to say something readers need to know, or to remember? Are you just writing for the fun of it? Why do you want to write this story? What do you hope to accomplish with it?

The aim of the story, once isolated, will guide you in choosing the events of the story. Please give more thought to your purpose in writing this particular story. Once you have determined that, come back if you wish, and we will explore further.

Thanks for writing!

Increasing Your Creativity

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Susan Rand


Questions about writing in general, creativity (how to make your writing totally YOU - unique as you are); how to make it stand out from the competition; how to spark your creative juices; how to make it flow; how to make your characters seem like real people; how to control emotion in the reader and much more! Please no homework questions.


I have been writing and teaching writing for several decades. I have written 5 books and several short stories. Over the years I have read and studied many books on "how to write." I can correct spelling and usage mistakes, and I know punctuation.

BA in the Humanities, with an emphasis on Written Communication, 1982

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