First things first: Happy 2016! I think my New Year’s resolution will be try to remember what year it is now and write the date accordingly (rather than date documents with “January 2015,” which is what I’m currently doing).
My first published pieces of 2016 are two super-short stories at Nailpolish Stories, a website that describes itself as “A Tiny And Colorful Literary Journal.” All stories published at Nailpolish share two interesting features: They are exactly 25 words long, and they use the names of real nail polish colors as their titles. If you think that means they have titles like “Red,” “Pink,” and “Magenta,” you should take another look at your nail polish bottles!
I’ve always liked very short stories and poems, so I had a lot of fun with Nailpolish’s simple concept. I’ve actually published stories in Nailpolish before (April 2014), but I enjoyed looking through the bottles of nail polish on my shelves again to find inspiration for a new set of stories this month.
Using the names of nail polish colors for titles is a pretty swell idea, but I think there are other sources of inspiration out there just waiting to be tapped. Here’s a list of my favorites.
- The subject lines of spam emails
- I use these a lot as poetry titles, and they are gold. I’m frankly not comfortable sharing some of them, but a couple I’d love to figure out uses for are “Release Your Soul with Angelina Jolie” and, more simply, “hey!”
- Other people’s names
- Sometimes they’re so cool you can’t help but steal them for your own work. Apparently this is how Ian Fleming found a name for James Bond.
- So maybe the cigar is just a cigar…or maybe your subconscious is telling you that your protagonist should smoke one. Either way, write down your dream-ideas as soon as you wake up to keep from forgetting them.
- As if you needed an excuse!
- I’ve seen this one used a lot at writing workshops. Where is the scene in the photo set? What kind of mood, time period, or political climate does it suggest? If there are people in the scene, do they look happy to be there?
- Phoning a friend
- Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor! If you get stuck, ask around for ideas–someone will almost certainly be able to help you out.
How do you get inspired?