File:Oprah Winfrey October 2014.jpgOprah Winfrey can solve all our problems. And if not her, then maybe Donald Glover, or Helen Mirren. The point is to adopt different points of view to generate creative ideas, and solve any problems – about plotting or about where and when to write your novel. This is a tool called “Creative Excursions” and it is simple to use and offers your mid a wide array of truly original ideas. 

Whatever issue you’re working on – whether it’s how to have your main characters meet, or how to increase profits in the 2nd quarter – you can channel another person’s point of view and get a fresh perspective on the challenge.

Let’s say you’re trying to come up with your meet-cute and you want it to be original, heartwarming and plausible. (A meet-cute is a Hollywood term for how the romantic couple meet, especially if it’s cute.) It feels like every meet-cute you think of has been done before or is so crazy it diminishes the characters and plot. And yet the meet-cute is very important!!!  AAaaargh.

This is a time to channel someone else’s perspective. Delve a little into their mindset and consider what might influence their ideas – and your challenge. The point is not necessarily to be accurate about what Oprah or anyone else might come up with, but to use it as a jumping off point, an inspiration.

Consider the meet-cute. We have a boy who is underprivileged. Maybe he works on a garbage truck. We have a wealthy girl in a private college setting. How do they meet? How do they meet in a non-cliche, non-sentimental and extraordinary way that makes the rest of the movie worth watching?

This could be fun… go to and look for the prompt. Let’s share our ideas for this meet-cute! How do our handsome garbage truck boy and a well-educated, wealthy college girl meet for the first time?  Don’t give up too soon, try the exercises below, and see what ideas you get for the meet-cute.

Creative Excursions Tool

Ask yourself:

  • How might Oprah have them meet?

    flickr qthomasbower

  • Lady Gaga?
  • Abraham Lincoln?
  • Martha Stewart?
  • Your great, great granddaughter?
  • Your great, great grandfather?
  • Stephen Spielberg?
  • Freud?
  • How would they meet if it were a Pepsi commercial?
  • How might they meet in a Nike commercial?
  • How would they meet if it were an American Apparel ad?
  • How would Kanye West have them janeaustenmeet?
  • How would they meet in a Carrie Underwood song?
  • How would they meet in a Jane Austen novel?

Keep putting on different hats, and allow your mind to add some of these borrowed elements into your current problem you’re solving.  For Oprah, my mind supplies the possibility of meeting in a cabin in a cotton field, like in The Color Purple, or they’re both guests on her show and they meet backstage. Lady Gaga makes me think of big hair and big jewelry. Maybe our wealthy girl accidentally threw away a diamond ring and enlists his help to get it back. Abraham Lincoln makes me think of telling silly jokes and entertaining a group of people, as in the movie Lincoln. Or pulling something interesting out of his hat for the young woman. What ideas do you get from going forward in time? How might your great great granddaughter have them meet? Likely virtually. (Help me Obi Wan Konobi.) Freud might include some innuendo with a cigar.

You can see how channeling other points of view can open up the field of ideas and give you many more options and an original, heartfelt approach to coming up with this idea? I hope so. I’m channeling When Harry Met Sally.  I’ll have what she’s having.