Let’s Talk Writing – Where do Story Ideas come from?

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve started my very own PODCAST! My lovely friend and fellow retreat facilitator Kerstin Pilz and I have joined forces to create a series of discussions about topics dear to our hearts – Let’s Talk Writing!

When I was travelling and working in Far North Queensland recently we recorded a number of sessions at ARTS NEXUS recording studio in beautiful Babinda – Madanji country, near where my father’s family had their cane farm in Innisfail.

Kerstin pretending to be short 🙂

In OUR FIRST EPISODE we discuss where story ideas come from.

Where can you find story ideas? What ideas are worth pursuing? Too many ideas? How can you narrow it down to just one to write about? In this episode of Let’s Talk Writing, Kerstin and I discuss where story ideas come from and how to make compelling stories from them.

So where do you get your story ideas? Some people dream them, others have a flash of inspiration or a sentence that comes fully formed. Others write from their own lives, or the lives of others. Some find story characters tapping them on their shoulders demanding to be heard.

What about you? Where do you get your story ideas? And what do we do if they seem to dry up?

Here are some images to use as prompts.

I find that even when I think I’ve got nothing to say, once I start writing the pen has its own wisdom. If we can only step aside and let the creative force that flows through all things flow through us, the words will come.

Give it a try 🙂 Pick one of the above images, put your timer on for 5 minutes and write like the wind! Don’t think, just write!

How did you go? I’d love to know. If you’re happy with how it turned out please post your piece in the comments.

Enjoy listening to our very first episode of Let’s Talk Writing!

With lots of love

Edwina xx


My C Word Method of Character Creation is responsible for this! Couldn’t help myself!

I’m well into this semester’s teaching at the University of Queensland and am drowning in a whole lot of adjective-plagued setting description that is driving me to distraction. As writers we need to ground the reader in the world of the story by describing the setting.

But how can we do this without just piling on the adjectives?

Here is another lesson from screenplay – SHOW US WITH ACTION or in this case DOING WORDS! (D word!)

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

I’ve recently finished reading Booth by Karen Joy Fowler, one of my favourite writers, as much for the strength of her prose as the interesting topics she chooses and the compelling nature of her stories. Here is a random sample of setting description from Booth.

Paragraph from Booth

Yes, a couple of adjectives, but mostly Fowler shows us what people are DOING. Even the plants are DOING something. The sun is shining. The tulip trees are coming into bloom.

Children chase each other. Everyone and everything is moving. Verbs abound! By doing this the author creates a scene that we can imagine, that we “see” with our mind’s eye, and a setting that feels real and contemporary, even though this scene is set in the 1860s.

She shows rather than tells us what is in the park. She could have just said: He went to the park and there were green trees, and it was a sunny day. It was pretty busy with people.

But she didn’t. Thank goodness!

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com


Good DESCRIPTION is made up of specific sensory DETAILS and DOING WORDS.


Remember a place you’ve been to – a park like this, or a beach, or a forest, or a party, or a classroom, or a shopping centre – and write a paragraph of DESCRIPTION using primarily DOING WORDS. See if you can avoid using any adjectives or adverbs at all. Instead create a list almost of people, animals and plants in ACTION.

Add people DOING things 🙂

Set a timer for five minutes and go for it!


Now do the same thing but for a place you’re unfamiliar with, another planet, or some kind of fantasy world, or futuristic or historical setting. Practice world building through describing actions.

Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

Set your timer and write like the wind!


Whenever you read, look for examples of how writers you admire establish setting in their stories. Look for the verbs. Look for specific details and nouns. When you’ve found a great passage, use it as inspiration to practice writing something similar.

Thank you Karen Joy Fowler for being an inspiration and a joy to read. 

Good luck with your writing projects. Hope the D word method helps!

Let me know how you go with your prompts.

Lots of love

Edwina xx