Creativity 101 Offers Strategies for Writers

A panel of Nancy Knight, moderator, Janny Wurts, Lucienne Diver, David Mcinnes Gill, Kim Harrison, and Ali Fisher brainstormed about ways that writers can keep their creativity levels high. Before moving on to possible strategies, Fisher and Ali agreed that voice, that unique lens of telling a story as no one else could, is the single most important thing they seek in a new write.

The author panelists considered what inspired them most. These and other ideas emerged:

  • New magic system (Harrison)
  • Explaining something that’s not been seen before (Harrison)
  • New turf or a twist that no one sees coming (Wurts)
  • Building the kind of plot that will challenge her characters (Diver)
  • Read science magazines (Gill)
  • Terraform a planet (Gill)
  • Take gross bug behavior and apply it to humans (Gill)
  • Painting (Wurts)
  • Build a story scene-by-scene on a sticky-note wall (Gill)
  • Make index cards to throw down ideas and shuffle them (Harrison)
  • Take three unrelated things, throw them in a box, and slam them around to make a story (Wurts)
  • Make collages and music soundtracks to fit the story line (Diver)
  • Leave work at [a chapter end] [a place where you know what’s next] [mid-sentence] before going to bed to begin again in the morning (Harrison, Diver, Gill)

Diver closed the panel with a reminder to read John Cleese’s creativity in management talk. He advises that if you get stuck, give yourself an hour to scribble senselessly and come back dying to write down some ideas.

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at