Monday, October 12, 2009

"Where do you get your ideas?" The Importance of Being Curious

*Finally, a title that doesn't refer to missing, or almost missing, a post per day. Of course, I've missed two--for being sick, some more, and 'cause it's the weekend. I'll make them up.

A couple of days ago, I went to a Borders store and was enamored of a notebook they were selling. A darkish teal, with ravens and dead trees in silhouette, the inside cream with more raven sketches, and quotes from Edgar Allen Poe. I love Poe. I wanted that notebook. I am notebook kind of gal. But it was $13.00. I passed.

Plus, I already have tons of notebooks/notepads--spiral and composition, plain and decorated. Some empty, but most of them filled to some degree with notes, snippets, phone numbers, and occasionally sketches and doodles.

Thing is, I almost never leave home without at least one form of paper, usually two or three. [I try to use different notebooks for different stories or purposes (one has become the exclusive notebook for my booky research notes, others are specific to a novel or story I'm working on).] I keep so many near at hand, partly because of that question, "Where do you get your ideas?"

No writer seems to enjoy being asked that question, because the answer isn't an easy one (unless you get asked a lot, and eventually work out a rote response). For me, part of the answer lies in these notebooks. They're next to my bed, tossed throughout my room, in every shoulder- and messenger bag, in my army jacket with the deep pockets. Even when I leave without all those things, chances are there is a pen and a battered notepad shoved into a jeans pocket. Because you never know where an idea will come from, or when it will arrive.

Ideas ride in on a breath carrying with it a snippet of conversation, the funny line you hear and wonder what the rest of that conversation is surrounding it. Or listening to the radio and a particular line jumps out at you, a few minutes of a dream, a weird-looking (however you define weird) person walking down the street.

Any of these things and innumerous more. You see them, jot them down, and wonder why. And then life goes on. Go about your day, forget that snippet or dream. Later that day, the next, a week or a month later, some other snippet arrives to your ears and you pull out that notepad, see the other one, and things start percolating. Two snippets together and maybe they begin to form a conversation, and you find out who are those people talking. It builds from there.

At least I think so. Sometimes I flip through older pads or early pages of current ones, and see notes for one story that triggers a revelation for a new story.

Read widely, too. ( :P That's me, master of segues.) I have an idea for a story, YA, teen male protagonist, vampires. But in a big way, it's a reaction to many of the vampires books already out there, because I want to see how a YA book would work with violent, bestial vampires, where their bite isn't dainty or romantic, but a violent attack. It's still in the early stages, and maybe the trend will be long gone by the time I finish, but the characters are forming, and I have an opening, and bits and pieces of interesting facts are coming to me, and it's a story I want to write, because I love a fancy French vampire with a flair for the dramatic.

And I'll stop there, because I am still sick and my thoughts are getting a little scattered. Plus, I've been trying to type this throught the some house drama.

Happy writing, everyone,

On a completely unrelated note: I love my television captions sometimes. Through various circumstances, I now use them with the volume on on a regular basis, and it's just kind of funny to watch a season 3 episode of Heroes and see the caption "Breathing heavily, lips smacking" to take all the romance out. heh. Lips smacking is not a romantic sound.
(Sorry if the paragraph breaks are weird, sometimes, I add an image and it goes all wonky, despite my efforts to fix them.)

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