I’ve always been an ideas person. It comes from being a problem solver, which comes from strategy board games and puzzles. I look at problems and think of weird ways to fix them while making it a little less sucky for everyone involved, well I do that with my story ideas too. How many I have finished is of no consequence (I’m getting there!), but I have almost 30 different ideas at the moment. The list continues to grow. Flying pirates, old west, hunting magic, time travel; nothing seems to be off limits. So where do I get my ideas? Well, my brain is a strange place sometimes.
I’ll watch Pirates of the Caribbean, and feel like I’m falling off something in the middle of the night. Boom, flying pirates. Well, what would they be up to? First, I have to design the flying part, then the pirates themselves, then I’ll fill in what their issues are. “Man, I really wish I could travel back in time to see what Hampton Court Palace was like in its hay day.” Well, the next best thing is to visit and write a story about it. Let’s get on that!
I had a dream once about two people watching the stars, and he decided to lasso one for her (Thank you George Bailey), next thing I know, I’m planning a story about space travel. My brain seems to take a piece from this book, a bit of that movie, and a lyric from that song and say, “Make something.” So, of course, I have to. It’s like a challenge to myself, and I’m competitive. I can’t let my imagination squirrel beat me. What’s the imagination squirrel? Oh, we’ll talk about that another time, right now I’m working on sewing a button back onto my jacket.
Wait…where were we? Oh yeah, squirrels and ideas. My inner tree rat will go collect a bunch of stuff and dump it back in my brain. Then I’m like, what can I do with this? Sometimes, I’ll be riding in the car and see a weird shrub or a random set of stairs that go nowhere, and three hours later, the squirrel will scream “Moss Stairs!” What do I do with that? Well, where might I find those stairs other than outside a gas station? They seem old, so history. But not too old, not like Shakespeare times, maybe Victorian? Well, what would I write about the Victorian times? Hey, check out this weird Nikki Minaj video. Well, I can make that work. Hello, Frankenstein story! (This blog will make a lot more sense once I finish writing my novels.)
Long story short, I find random things and piece them together. It’s like making my own puzzle. How do these things fit together? Well, they don’t, so how can I get from this corner to that one? The rest fills in like a chapter, or two, or twenty-seven. You could do it too! Keep a dream journal if you can, or keep a notebook with you when you go out to write down interesting things you experience. Take a picture of the oddly shaped rock on the turtle’s back; you could be the next Terry Pratchett.
Stay tuned for next week when I discuss that pesky squirrel. But I’m sorry in advance; there’s no moose.