Thursday, November 5, 2015

Offline Resources for Generating Book Ideas

Most of the time, the best book ideas come from offline experiences and places. In fact, I suggest making every moment of your life an opportunity for a book idea, whether you are in the grocery store or sitting in the doctor’s office.

Museums


One of my favorite museums to visit isn’t the Smithsonian. It is the small local museum: The Reading Public Museum. The place isn’t huge, but it is packed with interesting tidbits that fascinate and inspire. I enjoy their ancient civilization exhibits and never tire of reading the cards beside each item.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, museums never fail to inspire. Bring along a small notebook and pencil to jot notes and ideas.

Don’t forget to stop by the planetarium for a relaxing show and, afterwards, the gift shop to add a strange or beautiful item to your work area.

Bookstores


Yes, bookstores do still exist. I tend to visit used bookstores when I am in need of new ideas. I buy a lot of recipe books from the 1970s and earlier. I also collect old books on customs and folklore.

Don’t forget to visit your local libraries. I’ve used the Fleetwood, Exeter, and Reading libraries for years to gain insight into new subjects and research new book ideas.

Conventions


Being close to Philadelphia and Valley Forge, there are always conventions going on. One of my favorites was the Star Trek convention in Valley Forge. Not only were the speakers great and the crowd interesting, the stands were just amazing. I can still look back on that day and come up with new book ideas.

Visit conventions that interest you, whether it is sci-fi, food, or dog breeds. Take along a notebook and pencil and start brainstorming while you are there. Don’t be afraid to ask people questions while you are there and get email addresses for further questioning.

Stores


My favorite place to go hunting for ideas is the grocery store, but there are loads of other stores that can inspire new ideas. Taking a stroll through the mall and its many stores can fill your notebook with more ideas than you will be able to write in a year or more.

Also check out the people. Jot character studies in your notebook. Write out descriptions.

Nature Walks


A lot goes on during nature walks, from spotting wildlife to learning the history of the area. I try and attend as many nature walks as I possibly can simply because I return refreshed and full of ideas for both new books and articles.

Check Your Local Paper


Your local paper will have a list of local events. As writers, we sometimes forget there is a world outside our work area, but by keeping up to date with local events and actually going to them, you will find an unlimited amount of ideas for fiction and nonfiction books.

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