I do my best brainstorming without actually brainstorming. I think of my ideas more like dandelions in the wind, drifting gently through my mind. Sometimes they settle down to take root and other times they pass right by. I am inspired by films, by fairy tales, by photographs, by art and by music. I also find inspiration in memories. Remembering myself as a middle grade and teenage girl. But mostly, I take inspiration from my children. As they have grown, I have made mental notes of the things that matter to them, the dynamics of their friendships and the phrases they invent to give just the right emotional content to words that meant nothing before they were strung together in just that way. I think the best fiction is grounded in real life, in the personalities that seem dynamic enough to be real, the conflicts that remind us of our own journeys, and dialogue that rings true.
I am a big fan of scribbling in notebooks. I have lots of them with nothing but ideas. Some may turn into books some day. And some may be only exercises for my imagination. I find that the best way to play with my ideas is to write them down with a pencil and paper. So many writers are particular about their methods and their writing tools. Some only use fountain pens, and others are all about keyboards. I admit I usually grab whatever notebook has a few empty scraps of paper left and any pen or pencil I can find in my desk or my purse. But this month, I decided to try something new. Instead of rummaging in my purse or the kitchen drawer when inspiration strikes, I have prepared myself. Here's my writing kit, just waiting for some floating dandelions. What about you? What are your secret tools for writing your best ideas?