Friday, February 18, 2011

Desperately Seeking Inspiration

Meta-description: A screenwriter is forever alert for possible story plots because ideas spring forth anywhere even the least unexpected places but what happens if you hit another brick wall after staying away from the computer…

Screenwriters are constantly on the look-out for new story ideas because they know they are only good as their last screenplay. They continuously take scenarios and churn each potential plots for their next writing projects. However, there are times they even hit a brick wall. They are stomped on what to write about next.

            If taking a break away from screenwriting doesn’t ignite yet your muse, there are some other sources that can help stir those creative juices into the full gear.

Stoking the Fires of Inspiration

            Movies - Aside from checking the mainstream movies, why not check out Indie films or B-movies? Ideas always spring from unlikely places. It is the screenwriter’s job to be alert enough to recognize its plot potential.

            TV shows - Check out the latest episode of your favorite show. Sometimes, it all takes a particular dialogue, a scene, or a character predicament for an idea to be born.

            Newspaper reports/ Magazine articles - Browse and take note of the headlines or trending topics that’s been in the forefront.  Leaf through the pages and just let your mind wander until a semblance of a plot from then connect what you’ve stored so far in your story vault.

            “What if’s” - Place your characters in a circumstance and ask the “what if” question. This activity will also open up numerous possibilities for the screenwriter to play with.

Other Sources

            Character Sketch - Kick start by developing a character profile. Write down a personality quirk, a character’s goal, a belief system or some personal history that will resonate through the character’s present day life. This will help paint dimensions into your characters.
            Documentaries – Is your character an adventurer at heart? Is he an exploring naturalist? Or is she a fierce hiker fighting against the elements?  Are you planning to make a movie where your main character works at the zoo? Observe the animals in their natural habitat or contact your local zoo for a guided tour schedules. Observe the people working in the establishment or at least working closely with a particular animal that you plan to feature in your screenplay. Ready your questions so as not to waste the time of the professional in order to gain better understanding of what are their day-to-day activities are like.

            Youtube - Some people think this is an unlikely place to tap inspiration from; however, a forwarded e-mail from friends of videos to check out can also lead you to a plot bunny and example of this is this one: Animation versus Animator . Who knows, maybe a scene from the next thriller or horror film just came from viewing such funny clips.

            Name-generating sites - Are you searching for a hilarious pirate name or an out-of-this world name to surprise the reader? Browse through the name generating sites found in the web. Try visiting the Seventh Sanctum, which offers a wide array of generators such as planet names, space craft names, and Love-craftian names to weapons names. The site is also a good place to let your imagination fly especially reading the humorous plot samples or character backgrounds that are available which can often lead to developing your own intriguing worlds with unique characters that populate it.

            Journals - Do you have the habit of jotting down dreams or train of thoughts with no connection to one another in the past? Thumb through the pages and re-read those ideas and situations that inspired those thoughts. You’ll never know you may have a plot full of ideas already written in the journal, all you need is to flesh them out. Do I hear Oscar calling?

            Life - The ultimate pot where ideas flow. Live it the best way you can and at the end of the day, don’t forget to chill out and relax.

Here’s to the Muse

            Whichever way your inspiration comes to you, don’t forget to have a handy notebook ready or digital recorder with you when the stirrings of the new story begins to take shape. Don’t censor yourself too much either when these ideas come, jot them down or record the notes. You will have time to finalize them when the basic skeleton of the story is set. 


  1. And may I also add two of the biggest inspiration sources of all....... MUSIC and fashion. ;) They have their own vibrant ways of stirring a writer's imagination. x

  2. That's so right, MUSIC (I get all dreamy when certain songs intrude my reverie) and fashion is a good source too. Wonderful additions. :D


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