An African proverb tells us, “If you can walk, you can dance.” I propose that, “If you can think, you can write stories”. We are all filled with imagination to some extent. Don’t think you have a creative bone in you? I challenge you with this: Have you ever dreamed while you were sleeping? Have you day-dreamed while you were fully awake? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, then you have imagination!
My personal favorite genre is horror. I read countless Stephen King books as a teenager and lost many hours of sleep from fright. Still, I kept going back from more. It’s easy to imagine him sitting in a dim room with his typewriter (yes, typewriter–not computer), feverishly banging away at the keys while the imagination of gore and terror tethered his mind to the printed page. King’s vivid imagination will be remembered through the ages.
We may not all be at Stephen King’s level, but if you want to try your hand at horror fiction, these sites may help to get those juices flowing and provide feedback from the online community:
-A Reddit site that provides the amateur writer with a chance test their horror/creepy-writing skills is “Nosleep“.
In a similar vein to online fanfiction, one can listen to podcasts. On the creepier side, “The Magnus Archives” are a collection of episodes in which the archivist documents strange paranormal tales. The listener experiences the transformation of this character from disbelief to acknowledgement. You can’t submit your own creepy ideas for this site, but you can be inspired by the unsettled feeling you’ll get by tuning into the episodes.
If horror is not necessarily your thing, but you need a little help with ideas, “Writing Prompts” can help you to get started. One of my favorite more recent prompts is, “A fairy tale, but told by a redneck”.
If you’re interested in writing science fiction or fantasy, “Fantasy Author’s Handbook” will be a helpful tool. This blog by Philip Athans tackles some of the issues that writers may face when creating stories.
Once you’ve written your story, you’ve got to make the leap to get published! Writer’s Digest offers a list of 25 places to get published online. If you’ve got essays you’d like to publish, rather than stories, “The Write Life” offers a list of nineteen websites that will do this for you–and many of them will pay for your essays, though it varies from site to site.
We all have something offer: imaginative stories, life reflections, advice to the young…it’s time to let that creative spirit flow and share it with others!
Writer Bio: CJ Heath