There is a strong movement in creative writing that sees writing as a skill that can be taught (although there is also growing criticism of this: see, for example, Hanif Kureishi’s take). And teaching revolves around learning from other people’s successes and failures. Yup, we’re concentrating on failures today.

Inspiration comes in all forms, but there is something wonderful in taking an almost unanimous failure and using it to create something wonderful. And, yes, today’s sunshine has clearly affected my usual cynicism.

I’m going to start with my latest favourite, a wonderful website called Kindle Cover Disasters, which showcases the best of the worst. But how wonderful is that for brain food when stuck in a rut? Find a terrible cover and use it to create a story.

And if that’s too cynical for you (like I said, blame the sunshine), there’s always your local sign, notice board or unwelcome advertising leaflet that’s thrust through your letter-box. For example, I saw this in a bathroom cubicle, advertising health assessments but, to my crime-fiction over-leaden brain, it said something entirely different:


So, go on, observe others’ mistakes, failures or unthought-through signs. And use them.