Writing Books/inspiration


Hi. This may seem like a silly question, but how do writers keep from running out of ideas for books? Thanks

The only silly question is why you think you have a silly question! Every question and answer is important.

How do writers keep from running out of ideas? Some people meditate and let their minds drift until an idea comes. Others get ideas in their sleep at night. The best suggestion I know, though, and it works for anyone, is to constantly ask, “What if?” For example, you might be watching the news on television and see that someone won the lottery in your hometown. You might ask, “What if I won the lottery? What would I do? What might happen to me and to my friendships?” The answer could lead to a good story with many ups and downs.

If you read in the newspaper that a little boy was found after getting lost in the woods for two days, you might ask, “What if he weren’t found for two weeks? What might happen? What might a four-year-old do to survive in the woods?”

Let’s say you talk a walk with your dog and see a piece of paper on the ground with a list of items on it. You might think, “What if a person made a list of things to do and then lost the list? What if someone else found that list? What might that person do? What if the list involved items needed to commit a murder or rob a bank or blackmail a colleague?

Apply “What if” to everything you hear, see, or do, and you will never run out of ideas for books.

Also, subscribe to The Writers Network News, my free newsletter for writers. In addition to news and markets for writers, it has a creative writing assignment each month, to keep your ideas flowing. Sign up at www.zebraeditor.com.

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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