Where Do You Get Your Ideas? Part 2, by Anthony D. Fredericks

Navigating clip_image002[2] (1) Nonfiction

A monthly column by Anthony D. Fredericks

lightbulb-1875247__480You may recall that in last month’s edition of this column we talked about where to discover ideas for children’s books. I shared some of my own inspirational sources including my coffee cup, the daily newspaper, and popular magazines. This month we’ll tackle some other resources that can fire up your creative engines, generate mental lightning bolts, and get sparks flying across your computer keyboard.

Here are some more places for you to explore:

Daily walk

Something as simple as a daily walk can produce many new ideas for your writing. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you might be surprised at all the things that would incite a new story. Here are just a few I found on my walk yesterday afternoon:

What I Saw Possible Book Idea
A tall tree What are some of the tallest trees in the world and where do they live?
An antique car driving past What are some classic antique automobiles?
A hawk flying overhead Sports teams with animal names (Falcons, Bears, Tigers, Hawks)
An ambulance siren Emergency vehicles around the world
A runner along the road Long distance running—Is it for you?

student-849825__480It makes no difference whether you live in a rural area or an urban environment, you can put on a new set of eyes and ears every day during a walk around your neighborhood. In so doing, you’ll discover some topics that will keep your fingers dancing across the computer keyboard.


One of the things I enjoy doing whenever my wife and I are on vacation is to collect travel brochures, visitor’s guides, and other printed literature focusing on the places and sites we visit. I see many ads for restaurants, leisure activities, sporting events, art and museum shows, cultural celebrations, and all sorts of happenings geared for the tourist trade. Quite often, there will be the germ of a book idea tucked into all of those promotional efforts. For example, beside me is the current Visitor’s Guide for Ocean City, Maryland—where my wife and I recently spent a long weekend with some very good friends. Here are a few items, display ads, articles, and promotions from that guide and the children’s book topics that might result:

Item in the Visitor’s Guide Potential Book Topic
Best seafood restaurant in town Everything you ever wanted to know about clams
Parasailing adventures The history of flight from a child’s eye view
Miniature golf Unusual miniature golf courses around the country
Condo rentals What are all the different types of dwellings that humans live in around the world?
A Day in the Life of a Lifeguard What kind of training do you need to be a lifeguard?


During our visit, we took a long walk on the beach one day.  Here are some of the things we saw or found along with the book ideas I generated as a result of those findings:


Discovered on the Beach Book Idea
Seagull feather How do birds (and airplanes) fly?
Empty shell A hermit crab searches for a new shell (a new home)
Piece of driftwood How many different shorelines has a single piece of driftwood touched in its oceanic journeys?
Lighthouse What would it be like to live in a lighthouse?
Old man fishing on the shore Fish that live along the Continental Shelf


I usually discover that a visit to a different place (like a tidepool at the beach) resets my brain cells and helps me create fresh ideas simply because I’m seeing some familiar things with new eyes.


Next month: Even more places to discover book ideas!




Tony is an award-winning author of more than fifty children’s books, including In One Tidepool (https://amzn.to/2vvKQZN). This blog post was excerpted and modified from Chapter 9 in Tony’s latest writing book: Writing Children’s Books: Everything You Need to Know from Story Creation to Getting Published (https://amzn.to/2tREKCa).

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