Monday, June 14, 2010

How I Write - Ideas

Welcome! Click a picture above and link to the HOW I WRITE! home page so you can visit all of the writers involved in this week's blog series! I big thank you to Ansha Kotyk for being the organizer of this blog series!
I am very excited to get out and read how other writers come up with their story ideas because I really struggled with this topic.

I'm not really sure how I come up with my ideas - but interestingly enough, earlier today I did plot out a new short! I got my newest idea from watching tv and seeing a character trait I wanted to write. So I got out my pen and paper, put a gender twist on a classic idea and wrote out a few things things that could happen. At this point in my "Idea" stage, I don't have names (these come much later and after much time wasted on http://www.babynames.com/).

Truth be told, the notes I wrote today most likely won't get another look or thought on for about 6 months. Later tonight, I will add it to my word doc called "Plot bunnies" with point form bullets. Once I am looking for something fresh to write, I will consult that file, see what outline grabs my attention, and start working on it.

So, back to the key question, where do I get my ideas from? Mainly they just hit me over the head like little pebbles pinging off a second floor bedroom window of a teenager. The stories come in pieces - usually the key conflict first, the scene/plot next and lastly the characters.

It is worth noting that for the passed 3 years...the same amount of time I have been writing...I had a long commute to work (1 1/2 hour drive each way) and my plotting, story creation and ideas came to me while driving and listening to the radio. Now that I am working from home, I have been tempted to just get in my car and drive when I am blocked, but I can be a bit scattered brain and am worried I'll end up a day's drive away from home before I realize I should turn around.

I am thrilled to be part of the HIW (How I Write) blog series and look forward to next week's topic : Character/World Building.

Thank you for reading!

Cheers,
Kendal

8 comments:

  1. Great post Kendal! Ideas do show up in little pieces for me too. But any idea for me has to be expanded right away or I lose it. I used to put my ideas in little folders on my computer... but they usually end up there, never to be seen again. :) And YES, I've wasted tons of time on baby name sites... you have to have just the right name or your character won't talk!

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  2. Baby name sites are a time sucker. The moment I go I get pulled in. Granted, I usually am looking for the more unusual names. Still. You used to tape it as well didn't you? while you drove? Didn't you tape your thoughts?

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  3. I work from home too. But I do find that getting my iPod and headphones and jogging around the neighborhood or hitting the treadmill for a couple of miles is a good substituted for commuting / driving to generate ideas. I highly recommend it.

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  4. I think it's so interesting to read how we all come up with our ideas -- someone start throwing pebbles at me! That's great! No wait, you didn't mean that literally.

    I get a lot of ideas driving too - and need to get a notebook to keep in the car.

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  5. Nice post. I too have an idea file, but sometimes I wonder. I remember reading Stephen King on the subject in the foreword to one of his collections. He said that he DOESN'T keep an idea file--because his theory is that the good ideas will stick in his mind, and the bad ones will dry up and blow away.

    Well, maybe if I had the experience and confidence in my writing that he has in his, I'd see it that way too. But for now, I'll keep my idea file.

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  6. Love the post. I am a bit of a scatterbrain myself. I could definitely see me getting caught up in story plotting and driving for hours before realizing I wasn't supposed drive 3 states away.

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  7. I love the image of ideas as pebbles bouncing off a window. I don't keep an idea file necessarily. I have written some thoughts down on two future works. Just keywords to remind me of the 'feeling' the idea gave me.

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  8. Thanks everyone for the comments! And thanks for the comment on the pebble thing Isabelle - my cps all warn me I use way too many descriptions like that in my writing and I hate to cut them lol.
    Alexia is right, I use to have a tape recorder and when all else fails I would call myself and leave a voicemail. Something I would get home and have 10 new voicemails!

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