While taking a creative writing course in college, my instructor introduced me to an invaluable tool—a Writer’s Treasure Chest. This tool is easy and fun to make and will come in handy time and again throughout your writing life.
First, you’ll need something to house your treasure. It could be a plastic tub or a cardboard box. Decorate it, if you wish. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like.
Now for the adventure! To fill this chest, your imagination is your only limit. Mine contains newspaper clippings that I feel will make for good stories, pictures clipped from magazines, travel brochures, tourist information guides and advertisements.
Let’s look at each of these:
Newspapers often run stories of a bizarre nature. These can be wonderful seeds for creative ideas! If you write crime stories, there is a wealth of information for that as well.
And don’t forget slice of life stories, there are invaluable resources for this genre, too.
Pictures make up the bulk of my Treasure Chest. I’m a very visual person and these help me to “see” the things I am writing about much better. I have pictures of people of all types, sizes and in different sorts of dress. I may just clip out the eyes, arms or hair because it caught my creative eye. Some photos may have an “attitude” that I want to capture in my writing.
Don’t forget places! Fields, a mountain stream, diner or small town street will often lead you in the right direction. Pictures of home exteriors and interiors are invaluable, also.
Travel brochures are priceless for information on different parts of the world as well as additional photos. These can be had for no cost at a travel agency or trade shows.
When traveling, stop at the tourist centers. They have numerous brochures covering shopping, sites of interest, museums and city attractions. These are also free and you may choose as many as you like.
Advertisements are wonderful for ideas on décor, furniture and clothing styles. You can decorate an entire house and cloth your characters just by looking at advertisements!
These ideas are a good base for any Writer’s Treasure Chest. Depending on the genre you work in, you may expand accordingly. Half the fun is in the hunt and the ideas you glean will be priceless.