Pilates for Your Imagination

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. For relaxation, he writes westerns. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com.

To create a picture without using your senses.

Does crafting the perfect sentence—both grammatically correct and rhythmically pleasing—get you published?

Does owning a bank account with free refills get you published?

Does marrying the CEO of a publishing company get you published?

Help your odds at getting published—write a stellar plot. I don’t want to read a book you published through manipulations. I want to read a stellar book, one the publisher was forced to publish because the plot was brilliant.

You’re going to need an imagination, and no bottomless bank account’s going to buy one. Here are a few tips to exercise your plot-making skills.

—Daydream. In pictures, not words. If you can’t, I’m sorry. So sorry.

—Imagine a smell. Then imagine a taste. Next, a touch. Now a sound. And finally a picture. Anything. Then try combining two. Can you mix three? All five?

—Read. Turn off the blasted TV. Throw it over a cliff.

—Study gorgeous paintings. Make the figures move. Give them a story.

—Think of a sarcastic statement to everything around you. WARNING: Choose what comes out of your mouth carefully.

—Talk to children—toddler to teen. Brainstorm anything with them.

Make your main character your imaginary friend.

—When telling stories to friends, work it. Make it funny, visual, and expressive.

—Spend time with creative people.

—Don’t resist. Observe people. Make up stories about them.

—Don’t keep your imagination in your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. Be curious. Be daring. Be naughty.

You’re responsible for your education. Work it!