Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bottling and Saving your Story Inspirations


 I wish I had all the time in the world to write. And read, for that matter. Truth is, I have other interests to spread my time around on. Notice I didn't say: I have a life. Outside of reading and writing that is. Sometimes I do. In the dead of winter, however, it isn't much of one... life, I mean.

*Awkward clearing of throat.

Anyway, I digress...

Having finished my word count and then some today, I was still feeling very creative so I took a scroll through my new story ideas folder. What a shame such brilliance is sitting idle! (I kid, not everything is brilliant... or even that great).

However, I particularly liked this one, entitled Two Jacks and a Jill. Believe it or not, this one came entirely from an awesome dream. (I honestly think half of those ideas are dream sparked.)

Two Jacks and a Jill:

What chance does a runaway princess and two jesters have against a mad man with dark suspicious powers on a fast path to take over the throne? As much chance as turning a handkerchief into a dove. Which is good, because that's what these twins do for a living. If dark sorcery is taking over the land and stealing loyalty to the throne, the twins see no fault in countering it with some innocent deception and a few minor magic tricks. But when abra ca dabra comes to shove, it's going to take more than pulling a rabbit out of a hat to save the throne…

I think I'd been picturing the Harries twins faces in the role of the Jesters. One's named Jack after all...

But what I liked most about that one was how it read like an enticing back cover blurb. 

Unfortunately, most of my ideas don't. 

But they do usually include whatever originally sparked the idea. 

-Now, if that was a dream (not gonna lie) the description of the idea, typed up first thing when I'm still groggy in the morning, is usually vague and more than a little strange (haha!)

-If it was a picture on pinterest, I include it with a small pitch to make me remember my idea:

-Often it's dialogue, conversations or scenarios that spark the idea. In those cases, my story pitches can read like plays, scenes or snippets (not unlike this one).

-Sometimes my ideas are just questions, usually elaborated afterwards (for my poor memory's benefit) like this one:

Guardian of the water castle

What's wrong with sneaking out of boarding school and living alone in an abandon castle? Nothing. So long as that castle is, indeed, abandoned.

(Again, included is the picture that sparked the idea.) 

-Occasionally, my ideas (presumably the better ones) are flushed out as far as the three act plan or more.
(This is a modern day one that I have been thinking about a lot lately and would really like to start!)

-BY FAR the most frustrating ones are the ones sparked by concepts or notions I find curious and could imagine a thought provoking story behind, but only have my vague concepts or notions to record. Still, the potential there makes these some of the most interesting.

The Villian's Story:

A seemingly perfect utopian world, disrupted by the main character, who seems a little off, and dark. The consequences of his actions lead to a tumble of everything that’s good and at the end, a seed of something inherently bad, with 99% good surrounding it, is exposed at the heart of this world and we are left to wonder if the main character is not evil, but good. Afterwards, even he’s lost hope in himself  (thinking himself the villain) even though we, as the readers, have not...

As you can read, there is no real story to go by using that description. I don't even have a clue about my lead character! Since I tend to struggle with conclusions and climaxes, most of my ideas are rather open ended in their pitches (hate that!) but this? Talk about vague concepts...

All in all, of the 30+ story idea pitches, I think 3 or 4 could be worth the write, but I still feel like these ideas are worth saving and collecting. I never would have remembered them all if I hadn't saved them the moment they entered my disorganized brain, and very often the ideas contained within those pitches slip over into my other plot lines.

In addition to this folder, I also have my ALL IDEAS folder, which has all kinds of nonsense, from villain motives, to emotional conflicts and vague scenarios and so on. 

I also have a page of opening lines, which I love adding to when I'm in a creative mood. After all, that first line has to pack a punch!
Here's a few, as examples:

 She had the biggest black eye I'd ever seen.

I'd loved him forever, I just didn't know it until that day.

There's something very sour about the smell of blood.

Finally and probably most obviously, pinterest is THE stomping grounds for collecting visual creative ideas, doesn't matter what your creative tastes are. I have a massive board entitled Imagination that I browse when I'm looking for that spark. So many stories could be written influenced from a single expression!

Obviously, we writers can draw inspiration from positively anything, but hopefully I've inspired you to bottle yours for later, even the dumb ones.

Because you never know...

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