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ChocolateReigns's avatar

I just found out about Inkpop, and the idea of it really appeals to me. I don't have any writings right now, though. Any help with figuring out what I'd like to do?

Asked by ChocolateReigns (5599 points ) March 2nd, 2010

Off the top: If you don’t know what inkpop is, it’s a site for teens (13–18) to submit writing projects to (poetry, short stories, essays, and books), and the other teens rate and comment on it. Every month, the HarperCollins editors look at the top 5 rated projects in each category, and if they really like it, they give offer to publish it.

I just found out about this last night, and before that, I really hadn’t gotten far with writing things. I had tried, but after 3 pages or so it kind of lost the point. I think, if I get a good idea, and think of pretty much I want to do with the story, it could be decent. I’d like to try.
So here’s my question: How should I go about coming up with the idea? I know I can write better if it’s in first person. I really like the idea of a journal-type format. Help! This is pretty new to me.

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8 Answers

ArtiqueFox's avatar

Wow….I’ll think I’ll try it out!

Coming up with an idea is called inspiration. Anything can inspire, from your favorite walk in nature to a crack in the sidewalk. To come up with an idea, you simply need to sit down in a place that inspires you, or be near objects that stimulate your imagination. Think of favorite things or activities, and invent from there. Anything in your life can inspire, you just have to have the intuition to recognize it and the imagination to build on it. One hint though: stay away from vampires. Those have used and used again way. to. much.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

One hint though: stay away from vampires. Those have been used way. to. much.

I LOVE IT! I hate Twilight, too.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m too old. I wish it had been around when I was that age.

kyanblue's avatar

The initial (cynical) reaction is that you shouldn’t get your hopes up about being published. Certainly it’s a fantastic potential opportunity for teens to get published, but what’s really valuable is feedback. The site seems decent for that, although there isn’t much serious critique being given.

Don’t pressure yourself to come up with a Really Good Story-Worthy Top-Five-Rated Idea right away. You can’t force yourself to pull a novel-length plot out of thin air. What I do suggest, as far as ideas are concerned, is just writing. Write as much as possible. Write every day—this is vital. Give yourself a different prompt or subject or creative exercise every day and just write what comes to mind. Ideas will come naturally. I’ve been getting into the habit of regular writing, and the most serendipitous ideas just pop up in my writing. Your thoughts will branch off and take tangents into the most interesting of places.

One prompt that can be quite fun: find a random line of dialogue you think sounds cool, or a snatch of conversation you heard, or an intriguing sentence with lots of possibility. Use that to start a freewrite and just let your writing take you where it will.

If you need quick ideas to write about (the more your write them, the more you can explore & see if that idea can transmogrify and stretch into a novel), you could also check out the generators at Seventh Sanctum.

Honestly, the whole “coming up with an idea” process is largely overrated. If you don’t have an idea, write until you do. I suppose you could rely on taking showers and hoping ideas will rain down along with the hot water, but that only works when your brain is already in a writing mindset, and working on imagining up words in the background.

jules96's avatar

Oh, my god. I know you are asking for help, but I’m 13 and have been writing a book for a few months. I’ve been looking for any kind of site like that for a while. What kyanblue said was right. Ideas don’t just come out of thin air. My book idea took MONTHS to plan, outline, look up information, names, etc. When it comes to all the planning, I was very very detailed. Each major/semi-important character had a biography-of-sorts on their personality and physical description. I also wrote multiple summaries, deciding what the main point of the story would be. Writing the actual book is very hard. I have to get a wide sentance variety and look up synonyms to words that are repeated too much. There’s also getting the right point across…

My inspiration started with one of my favorite authors, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. She published her first book when she was 13, and that made me believe it was even possible to attempt. I’ve been told I am a great writer for my age, but what does that really mean? So her accomplishment is what influenced me to try.

I have a question for you. What sorts of genres are you interested in, or can easily write about? Romance, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller, etc.? I’m big on fantasy, so me and ideas work together really well. Also, you could write about an experience you’ve been through, if anything major has happened in your life.

Funny story actually. My mom was telling me how if I get stuck for awhile on my book, to write some short stories, which I’ve never personally tried. I’m a big symbolic poet sort of person too. I’ll just say that writing is a pretty big part of my life right now.

First person is easiest for me to write in too. Also, do you like past or present tense when it comes to verbs? She said, she says. I look, I looked. You know? I like present tense because I never get confused on how to word things. I just imagine what I’m writing about as if it were happening right at that moment, and it helps describe it.

I don’t know if this helped…or if it just seemed like a big jumble of random rambling, but I hope it did help!

And I also know you asked this about a week ago, but I haven’t been on here for a long time and this was a good question to me.

Good luck! :)

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@jules96 I don’t do fantasy, sci-fi, or thriller really. The stories I’ve written have been about a normal girl my age. I like first person best, because then I can just switch modes and be my main character. What works best for me is making a sort of fictional journal, or a blog that my main character is writing. It always ends up to be a parallel of my life, which is kind of embarrassing. I don’t know why, it just is.

P.S. So are you on Inkpop now? If you are, message me. My username is the same as on here – ChocolateReigns.

BBawlight's avatar

Here’s a tip that I have learned through experience and countless searches:
Know how you want to end your story. I’ve started several good stories, but got rid of them because they started to drag on towards the end.
You want to know who your characters are and who’s going to interact with who.
You need to know where they are right down to the little details, even if they won’t be included.
You need a plot, most of all. If you don’t know what’s going to happen in your story, you will be stuck with writers block for most of it.
I get inspired by almost everything I see, hear, taste, and touch. My brain automatically makes up a story for a particular item, and I think: ‘That would make a good story’.

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