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  1. #11
    Roy Abrahams

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

    Hi, Lois:

    The organization has to be refined because I can't remember new information for very long. I've come up with a sudden twist to a plot at times when I had no paper and pencil at hand and couldn't remember the first part of it once back at my desk.

    As we all know, there is no prescribed method for getting inspiration or putting the results on paper. (Ugh....save me from so many rules.) At times, I've done much the same as you outline above, getting an idea that flows untill the well runs dry. In the case of SNOWLANDS, I was starting tabula rasa with no real idea of going very far. That first germ simply forced me into doing something different until I tired of it. Well, I haven't tired yet. Instead, after four hours sitting in the park this afternoon (With lots of paper and six nicely sharpened pencils)I walked home with six pages of new details, sub-plots, conflicts, on and on. What a great day it was!

    Torture? Torture would be not having a written language.

  2. #12

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

    I am caught by the plight of the individual in the middle of big events, the person who is "on the wrong side": the "good German" who is punished by the Red Army by having his wife raped and his home stolen, the thief who wants to turn to the good but can't extricate himself from his surroundings, the child who has the "wrong" father. I read stories of injustices in the newspaper and something starts to simmer inside me. I think of what I would do if I were on the wrong side, thrown out of my home on a winter's night with my children, no food, just the clothes on my back. I become incensed when people treat history as though it were always a question of the right and the wrong sides, the black and the white. I like to look in the cracks.

  3. #13

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

    I find it easy to thinki up ideas, and I have a book with hundreds of them in. The big question for me is which ones to write. That's the difficult thing - and I'm not sure what the answer is.


  4. #14
    mike fulton

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


    Wait a minute. The women were literally HOISTED onto the boat? Hoisted--- as in pulleys and ropes and such? Whoa. Those were big women.

    And after he gets the women on board, he disappears into the tall grass. Okay, I can understand that. You need privacy for some things.

    Then they sailed off into the sunset.

    Maybe some things are better left alone. Some questions are better left unanswered (or in this case, left UNASKED).

    I'm gonna leave this one alone. I don't want to know any more.

    And I'm turning by back to the sun so i don't have to see their silhouettes.

  5. #15
    mike fulton

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


    Only once has a single event inspired an entire work, but I find myself drawing upon experience to create characters (whose actions in the fiction have no basis in reality).

    I have personal symbols and motifs which are based upon things I have seen.I use them to help me to convey specific ideas. I have to rely upon the external world for many things.

    I once read an interview with John Irving in which he was asked how he got the idea for a character in of his novels to do a certain thing. (I won't go into details, but it involved the narrator and his girlfriend driving in their car on a country road. They come up behind a farm truck which is piled high with stuff, and a boy is sitting atop the stuff, and as the narrator passes the truck, the boy does something obscene).

    Irving responded,"Well, my wife and i were driving in the country and when we tried to pass this old truck, a guy on top of the truck drops his pants and..."

  6. #16
    M T

    curiouser and curiouser

    Mike, you can see why I know the story I eventually write on this is going to be wierd! Another strange couple of details are -- the women just seemed to rise out of the grass, I got the impression they had been buried in the sand. And they were engrossed in conversation the entire time that they pushed their way through the grass and then walked over the sand. Their voices were birdlike, the chattering sortof floated across the air to where my boyfriend and I were sitting. The way they honed in on the shipwrecked man, I imagined that they were very hungry....

  7. #17
    mike fulton

    Re: curiouser and curiouser

    Well that scenario alone has potential for flash fiction. The title could be "The Last Man on Earth." I don't want to be offensive, so I won't be very specific in my explanation, but depending upon the women's size, and the man's willingness, the guy could, indeed,be (for these women, at least)the last man on earth.

    Wow, MT. This has some potential.

    Weirdness? In fiction? That's not a term included in MY literary lexicon. For me, "weird" describes things that exist in reality.

    Nothing is weird in fiction.

  8. #18
    M T

    Re: curiouser and curiouser


    Yay! this is the first time I used that (above) term/sentence/whatchimicallit. :-D

    I think I'm going to get going on that story very soon, this string has got me thinking about it again. Thanks Mike. hehe

  9. #19
    Ron Starkey

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


    I don't think I've ever formed the basis for a book through the same type of exercise you described, but I found being led along the trail of your imagination fascinating.

    My own process involves immersion into a sort of dream state from which I may retrieve numerous ideas and suggestions without any borders reality may try to define. I allow these to play and grow in whatever fashion they may take until a tangible story emerges. This, at times, can take many hours, even days, to reach fruition, so lately I've just said, "Screw it!" and signed on here at Writers Net and stole whatever I could find from others. (The latest involves starting each succeeding sentence with the next letter of the alphabet...a sure winner, I think!)

    All the best.


  10. #20
    Roy Abrahams

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

    Good morning, Ron:

    I'm sure the dream state you describe has elements similar to those I utilize. It must be a faculty that most creative persons utilize in one way or another. Some may be inclined to call it "getting in touch with a muse." Others may see it simply as a conscious process whereby they use native intelligence. Your remark about working "without any borders reality may try to define" is especially appropriate to the issue.

    We've all heard that humans use only ten percent of their brains. Perhaps those of us with muses or advanced native intelligence are using fifteen percent. My feeling is that we are tapping into a rich resource that slumbers deeply within the subconscious. I also feel that if this digging is not done, the results will be less than is needed for good literature or any other form of art. Yes, this borders on metaphysics, but perhaps as writers we should gain a better understanding of that realm if we want to produce good writing.

    With all that said, I'm back to work......dreaming


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