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  1. #1
    Roy Abrahams
    Guest

    "How do you get your story ideas?"

    Hi gang......

    The below was posted on the spur of the moment on another thread the other day. Since its appearance there, no one has responded except for one member who wrote me via email to say no one would find it now that it is three or four pages back. The suggestion was that I post it as a new thread. With a few changes at the beginning, here it is. I hope it has some value to someone.........Roy

    * * * * * *

    Concerning my Sci/Fi-Fantasy story, SNOWLANDS OF NARIUS, I don't know the middle or ending yet. The germ of the story came from a mental picture of a monstrous field of level snow some twelve inches deep. This vision was before my eyes as I awoke the other morning and it stayed with me for several hours. For some reason, it wouldn't vacate my head. I decided to make use of it.

    But how? To what could this image lend itself? Of a sudden, I saw tracks in the snow. Nothing making the tracks. Just tracks. One after the other, moving eastward, right to left, each in a straight line. My conscious imagination took over for a moment and I actively called up other tracks, these stretching into the distance. Invisible creatures moving seven abreast through the snow.

    As I always do when a new story starts forming, I went to my bed and lay down on my back. In that position, completely relaxed, no demands on my body, I let my mind wander as it always does when at rest. The snow scene was as vivid as ever and as I studied it in my mind's eye, a character appeared with a girl standing beside him on a stony path, the two watching the tracks being made. The details came in a rush. Dialogue. Action. The story was aborning. I lay there with pencil and clipboard, writing down things as they came. That lasted some fifteen minutes.

    The next step was to set up directories, folders, and files in my word processor. A file for characters..their names, all of their attributes, their places in the story. Another file for describing this new world....the snow, the mountains and where they lay, the city and its geographical relation to the snow fields and mountains.

    A file for the city by name..Harn-on-Narius. The city's description as it came to me...a very beautiful space-age city held aloft on transparent pylons of Deklar, a new space-age material whose name came unbidden. (Kevlar, the material used for bullet-proof vests was probably in the back of my mind.). Transparent tubes of Deklar coursing all about for walkways and transit systems. Domes over vast acreages of vegetables, herds of animals for meat grazing under other domes. Seven hundred feet below the city, the planet Narius lay covered with boulders too large and numerous to move...thus Harn was built in the air.

    The files filled of themselves as I created them, an automatic writing experience I heavily rely upon. No stopping. No conscious attempts at directing my thoughts. The new world formed in words, people moved through it, the creatures, benign and dangerous, appeared long enough I could put down their descriptions.

    What an exciting world Narius is! One species of creatures there have split into two factions....one wants the humans and their city destroyed, fearing the humans will ultimately discover the indigenous dwellers of Narius' lower hemisphere and wipe them out. The other faction is determined the humans stay. Benevolent, this faction wants to slip into Harn and, cloaked in invisibility, study the humans' technology so they, the kinder creatures, can use the humans' knowledge for advancing the quality of their own lives in a harsh environment.

    Where does it end? Hopefully, on the bookshelves of all major bookstores in the country. Till then, practice patience. I'm working as fast as I can.

    Regards..........Roy (who wants to lie down and absorb some more information.)



  2. #2
    Lois
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    Roy -- Your idea absorption skills are fascinating, and your organization amazing. A book normally pops into my head full blown, I dash off the first chapter, make quick notes as to what will happen in chapter two. The next day, I will either attack the second chapter, or do a quick, quirky outline of the novel. If I have enough physical energy, both.

    As I go along in the novel, if something new occurs to me, or a wonderful character demands more than a mere walk-on, I'll jot all of this into a folder labeled "Title Notes."

    And I'm sorry I missed your first post on this, Roy, because I'm delighted to find out how others face the torture...I mean, process.

    Good luck!

    Lois

  3. #3
    Lindi Hobbs
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    Thanks Roy )

  4. #4
    mike fulton
    Guest

    "How do you get your story ideas?"

    Generally, I just notice things. Being a photographer, I usually have a camera handy to capture fleeting moments--- things which may be meaningless to others, but which mean a lot to me. I love signs. Where I live, the countryside is loaded with wonderful low-tech signage. There's a hair salon in the piedmont in Waynesboro, NC that's called "Clara Do Something With That Hair." A woman runs it out of her house which is set about 200 feet from the state road. Right behind the house is a tobacco shed where tobacco is dried. Behind that is a feed silo. I don't know if I'll ever do anything with the setting, but it suggests so much to me.

    I try to be receptive to the world around me, so that when something happens, I'll be ready to commit it to print.

  5. #5
    M T
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    I'm a bit like Mike. I might see something that catches my eye or starts my imagination going. Last summer my boyfriend and I were at the beach, sitting on lawnchairs, watching a man on his beached sailboat. It was completely on its side because of the tide, yet the man refused help and just waited inside the upturned cabin for the tide to come back in. When it did, suddenly two fat women wearing floppy hats emerged from the beach grass behind us and picked their way along the sand to join the man. We hadn't known they were there. I'm planning to write something very odd around this scene, I just don't know when.

    I'm not very organised. I have stuff in my head and sometimes I put it down on paper for later, or I add it to my notes at the bottom of the short story or poetry or book file. I work best in a kind of chaos (caoss? kayoss? HOW DO YOU SPELL IT!!!!!?)

  6. #6
    Olufemi Taiwo
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    I-T. But seriously, you spelled chaos right the first time.

  7. #7
    M T
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    oh. thankyou.

  8. #8
    mike fulton
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    MT:

    I've written things which started out as a paragraph and sat on a floppy for months, but the character and his situation stayed in my head until I finally began working on his story. I have found that incubation time is essential.

    There's one exception to this. I wrote one short story in one sitting on a Halloween shortly after a policeman came to my door looking for someone who gave my address as his address.We shared the sam names. I thought, "Wow. See what happens when people lie?"

    The resulting story had nothing to do with the policeman's visit, and I wrote the story from beginning to end in one sitting. (It's online on Morpo review, I think.It's called "The Man in the Pantry." It's really short).

    So tell me, did the big girls sail off with the guy in the sailboat?

  9. #9
    M T
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    Mike - yes they did. But first, they were hoisted aboard, after which the man went off to spend some time in the long grass. Then he came back and they all sailed off into the sunset.

    P.S. I agree about the incubation time. It's as though the idea has to grow within your head for awhile, then it's ready to be born. I've also written a very few stories in a sitting. And here's a wierd coincidence -- like you I wrote a 'one sitting' story on Halloween! It's called The First Halloween Child. About a couple (my boyfriend and me actually) who yearn for kids to come to their door and Finally some do come. After the kids, the couple put on costumes and divide the remaining candy between them while they watch Halloween specials.

  10. #10
    toby
    Guest

    Re: "How do you get your story ideas?"

    Hi all,
    Unfortunately I’ve never ‘seen’ something that sparked a writing idea. Similar to Mr. Abrahams post, the ideas come internally.

    Some small thought or day-dream will intrigue me, and then the doodling begins.
    I admire his organizational skills, mine end up on paper plates and backs of magazines.

    And the spark can be something as simple as deep snow, or steady rain.

    One completed book where the protag was always polite, led to a novel I would have never ‘outlined’ where the protag was rude. I wrote one short scene between the ‘rude’ man and a woman, and ka-boom, the found gift.

    Interesting to hear how you all do it.
    Toby

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