November 14, 2011

A Writer's Life - Sometimes several ideas attack me at once

A frequently asked question to writers would have to be "Where do you get your ideas from?" So, what about the answer? Well, the answer can be anything from mind-bogglingly (love that word) complicated to really simple. It totally depends on who you ask.

My own answer? They are everywhere! When you go through life with open eyes, a stroll through the park can be just as inspiring as watching a car with thumping music drive by. I don't have to watch the news to get an idea for an adventurous story filled with catastrophes and unexpected heroes. Adventure, as much as heroes, can be found in the small everyday observations that lots of people just overlook.

While all those ideas are seemingly everywhere, not all are worse pursuing. Unless of course the one you just caught a glimpse of decided to only show its tail before hiding. Then you need to run fast before you loose sight of it. And sometimes, usually when you least expect it, ideas may even attack you in packs. That probably sounds terrific, after all a writer can't have enough ideas, right? Wrong. It's a bit like trying to get a class full of five year old's under control who all just had double Espressos. Not fun. It takes nerves of steel to get them all under control.

The thing is, many people confuse having ideas with actual plotting. Let's compare it to building a house. You've got the idea that makes a wonderful window, then another which works well as carpet in the bedroom, and yet another one will be that leaking sink in the basement. Putting them all together is the tough part, because you need to connect them all to build, or rather write, a whole. And that is plotting.

So, you see, it's not so hard to have ideas. If you keep your eyes and mind open you will realize they surround you all the time. All it takes is sifting the chaff from the wheat, which admittedly is one of the more difficult and somewhat tricky tasks. Like a puzzle you have then all those pieces in front of you. That is where the real fun begins. And this task is called plotting.

Now you need to tickle your inner architect aka plotter a bit and start building the framework and put it on its foundation. Of course you can also start with the roof first and work yourself down. Laws of nature don't necessarily apply. And the construction supervision agency won't have anything to say here either. Knitting the ideas together, making an entity that, with a bit of profuse swearing, permanent headaches, and most of all, lots of typing, will end up being one of those things made of wood pulp and ink.

You know, next time someone asks me where I take my ideas from I will memorize this situation in all its detail and use it as a doormat. Like I said, ideas are everywhere. Yet not everyone knows how to use them. This is what separates the average person from the person behind the keyboard.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of tickling my inner architect, but I'm always overwhelmed by laughter :))