Exploring A Writer’s Imagination

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Fiction writers use their imaginations to transport readers into an adventure. Imagination and creativity are not the same tools, but they work together.

Imagination propels creativity by connecting what our mind sees with how best to show it to readers: an inner landscape is used to develop the outer landscape. For example, a writer imagines a concept and forms the words with events to make it happen, paving the way for an exciting adventure.

Writers take ideas and turn them into tangible stories. They shape a character into a credible, three-dimensional story player and develop worlds in which the character struggles to achieve a goal or solve a problem. Along the way, the character changes and grows into a better person.

How can we enhance our imaginations to ensure our readers receive a powerful adventure?
  1. Read. Read. Read.
  2. Study the creativity of other writers, then imagine how you could use the same techniques in your story.
  3. Keep a journal of your difficulties, victories and defeats, triumphs and challenges, and varying opinions about life and the world.
  4. Record dreams. Our dream world is practical, logical, or has time restraints. The impossible can happen.
  5. Daydream about your characters, plot, setting, emotion, dialogue, and symbols. Record these for the future.
  6. Ask what-ifs in every situation. And don’t settle for the first idea. Keep pressing for the unique and the unpredictable.
  7. Don’t only use the right side of your brain for creating story. Mixing the left (logical and analytical) and the right while writing expands our imagination.
  8. Exercise your body. You’ll fuel your brain and heighten your imagination. Think of sweat (perspiration) as fuel for your story.
  9. Explore another type of creativity: painting, gardening, cooking/baking, woodworking, etc. Watch your story take a new level of excitement.
  10. Forget reality and logic.
  11. Spend lots of time with children and play.
  12. Close your eyes. Imagine a specific area of your story, perhaps a problem spot. Now type away. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, format, etc. Let the left side of your brain handle that another time.
  13. Pay attention to sensory perception. How can what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch burst onto the page with metaphors and similes unique to the character?
Try your hand (imagination) with this exercise:
  • Imagine you have been transported to the far future.
  • Your home is on a planet quite different from earth. Where? Describe it.
  • What is the language?
  • What is medical care?
  • What is the government?
  • What do you eat?
  • What is the housing?
  • What is your career?
  • What is the vegetation?
  • Who are your friends?

A writer digs deep to ensure readers’ expectations rise above the mundane. How are you expanding your imagination to improve your writing?