By Grace Jolliffe
Do you feel you sometimes lack imagination? Or that your imagination is low or tired? Well, it’s simply not true – everybody has lots of imagination. If you disagree with this statement try not to build a picture in your mind of a pink elephant wearing a white hat and cool shades. Next, try not to see the pink elephant with the white hat and cool shades dancing… get the picture?
Now, try this exercise: Think back to your earliest childhood memory. Was the sun shining? Were you in your pram? In the garden? Were there butterflies?
Keep asking yourself questions and fix on your most vivid memory. You will probably find you have added a few extras to the memory. Now, write it down – all of it – every detail you can think of. The first time I did this exercise I saw myself as a baby peeping out of a pram and looking at a beautiful garden, filled with butterflies and of course the sun was shining.
Is this memory or is this imagination? If you have just seen the above images as I described then you know the answer already. You may have added the above butterflies. That is okay, memory is a great tool for a writer but it is not everything.
The power of suggestion is immense. If, for example, I mention a white Unicorn or a large fire-breathing dragon you will immediately see these in your mind. Your imagination will deliver the images you think about.
HOW TO USE THE POWER OF YOUR IMAGINATION TO CREATE A STORY
You can trigger your imagination in a myriad of ways. One of the most powerful ways is by asking yourself questions.
Taking the above example a few steps further:
A white wolf has come down from the mountains and is approaching the garden. It is now frighteningly close to you as a baby. Somebody comes to the rescue.
Ask yourself why the wolf came down from the mountains. Why it approached you as a baby and who came to the rescue.
Now you have the beginnings of a story, and you can use your imagination to bring this story further, by asking more questions.
You can take ‘you’ out of the story and replace with a fictional character. If you don’t know who your new character is you can simply let your story create a character by simply inserting ‘man’ or ‘woman’ and asking yourself questions about them to generate a character.
To exercise your imagination, simply use it. For example, you are in walking in a park. Who is there? What are they doing? Who or what is lurking under the bushes? Who is hovering below the still waters of a nearby lake?
Your imagination is always present. All you have to do is use it by asking yourself questions. Don’t forget though – write everything down.
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