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Having trouble finding inspiration? Here are some handy hints about ways to get your creative juices flowing.

∑ Pick a situation where a character is on the edge of a crisis- whether they know it or not. This gives you something immediately to confront. Remember, this is natural drama.

∑ Have a picture or photograph facing where you write- something mysterious, maybe a portrait of someone youíre curious about. Anything that makes you ask questions is good.

∑ On a train or bus or in a waiting room, pick someone to look at and begin asking yourself questions about them. (Silently!) As soon as youíre back home, or wherever you write, start straight away. Even if you write two pages of nonsense about them and then get into your own story, itís got you going.

∑ Make yourself a private space to write in- even a corner or a hallway, but make it personal and inspiring. Carve out a precious hour or two where the family know not to disturb you- and put the answerphone on. Donít start when youíve just done a ten hour day at the office and are tired and fractious- remember this is not a chore, itís what you deserve.

∑ Look out for weird little stories in the newspaper- local papers are best for this. Cut them out, put them on a pinboard and set yourself small tasks- an hour to come up with a story or plot that takes up where the story stops.

∑ Find a picture or photo of something active- and write about what happens just before or just after the moment caught in the image.

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