A Novel Idea–Exercise your subconscious


Lesson within a lesson: Examples of purple prose. If the writing calls to itself more than to the story itself, chances are it’s purple. The challenge–find the purple prose below and tell me in the comments. Enjoy the hunt and hope you learn something!

We writers are a creative bunch. Maybe we’ve had it since birth, or maybe we’ve just programmed our brains to pluck ideas as they float by in the eternal aether.

Whatever the case, a new idea magically appears and it snowballs into a story. So what does that first snowflake of an idea look like? Inspiration comes first, and different things inspire different people.

Maybe you get a creative jolt every time you catch your crack head neighbor conversing with his pet lint ball. Or perhaps you went to bed and those undigested buffalo wings swimming in a frothy pool of beer are giving you insanely vivid dreams.


The point I’m making is inspiration happens on a primal, emotional level. It speaks to your subconscious without you–the writer–being aware. It’s a hint of a smell that reminds you of some glimmer of a memory you cant quite grasp. It’s a word that keeps cropping up in your daily thought process for no other reasons than to be either incredibly annoying or inspirational. It’s the stinging memory of a papercut or the smell of coffeeeeeee….

I’ve compiled a list and if you read it, you’re subconcious will remember (it never forgets, only our recall is fallible). So use this list like lubed-up defibrillator paddles: it’s a starter pack to get those creative juices flowing, and your subconcious will allow you to recall the information when the time is right. After all, imagination comes from the subconcious mind…

AN IMAGE: Riffle through some old photographs. I’m not talking about those cute photos of your toddler-now-18 in that shoebox. I’m talking about that one time when you were six, you glazed over your grandmother’s old black-and-whites of her brothers in World War 2. You’re subconcious remembers that stuff.

A SINGLE WORD: Yup. It’s annoying as hell. One single solitary word can ruin your day. Or maybe, like in my instance, you can build an entire book around one word. Then that one word can annoy you for the rest of your life.

A CHARACTER: This is where your lint ball-loving neighbor comes into play. Go to the mall. Watch people. Let your subconcious soak in all those kooky characters. Now when you need a character for your novel, your subconcious will provide you one.

A SETTING: We travel, we see things. The trick is seeing something new. You’re going to have to get out there and go somewhere you’ve never been. Wake up your subconcious with new senses. Let it experience the smell of diesel and smog, the spray of ocean water, the deafening noise of a quadrillion mating crickets on a summer night.

The subconscious is always awake. You just may have to feed it once in awhile. Exercising your subconcious mind will help stave off writer’s block and inspire originality!

THANKS FOR READING! As always, leave a comment and tell me what you thought about my post! If you want to share how your ideas are triggered, let’s hear it!

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