By Melissa Stoller
I have always been fascinated by how music can spark memory. Taking that further, music can provoke memories that can inspire story ideas. Try these steps to help generate some drafts this month:
Enjoy using music, songs, lyrics, and memories to help uncover ideas that may be waiting for you! Let me know in the comments what you find! Cheers to creativity!
Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection - Return to Coney Island (Clear Fork Publishing); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush, Ready, Set, GOrilla!, and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories. (Clear Fork). Melissa is a Blogger and Course Assistant for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a volunteer with SCBWI/MetroNY, and a founding member of The Book Meshuggenahs. In other chapters of her life, Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. She lives in New York City with her family, and enjoys theatre, museums, and long beach walks.
3/9/2021 12:51:26 am
At the moment I don't need any more stories. I just need to work on the ones I have already written (30+) but this is an interesting idea.
3/9/2021 02:16:13 am
Sing is an amazing skill we all tap into that is free & enhance our well being. Your insight into using Music as a trigger is so true.
3/9/2021 03:35:40 am
Melissa, this cheers my heart and music-challenged memory. I do recall early and teen era music, and most of the rest is classical. Much research about our musical set points, why we tend to like best music from our teens (yeah, Beatlemania, Bob Dylan) and have a harder time liking newer, popular tunes.
3/9/2021 10:00:12 am
I love the idea of using music to bring about emotion. When I was writing SURVIVOR TREE I had a tough time getting into the right frame of mind each time and I didn't feel like reliving the moments of September 11th over and over each time to get into the right head. So I searched Spotify and found some moody instrumental music that helped me become grounded in the hopeful heartbreak I was writing about. I would listen to the music as I worked and each time I sat down to write it instantly transported me to the heart of my manuscript.
3/9/2021 12:26:42 pm
Songs do bring back memories! I recently created a playlist of songs that were part of my life over each decade. Thanks for the suggestion of using these songs to prompt story ideas.
3/9/2021 01:39:11 pm
Melissa, I have been thinking lately about using song titles from a certain band as prompts for stories. (Though so many of their songs are already stories.) I also find that playing certain kinds of music greases my creativity gears. I used to think writing prompts didn't do anything for me, but lately I've been finding them to be very fertile ground. So now I have to try music. Thanks for these exercises.
3/10/2021 07:44:58 am
Melissa, I loved this article and the idea of tethering story ideas to songs. Just like favorite childhood books, songs bring people back to specific times in their lives and carry emotions with them. I can't wait to try this technique! Thank you. Annette
3/13/2021 03:38:38 pm
This is great. When I taught creative writing, we often used music as a prompt. However, I forgot about using it to generate story ideas. Thanks for the reminder!
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break