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Tag Archives: imagination

Story Plot Grist Mill

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As writers, we should see ideas everywhere. They can come out of the most surprising places or something mundane can trigger that creative spark.

Over the last 60 days, I have quit my job of 20 years, accepted the job of a lifetime, sold my house, bought a new house, started the new job and survived the first week of orientation. All without losing my mind or my temper. But, more important, there has been no fewer then eight ideas for story scenes pop into my head based on the situations I’ve been dealing with.

For example: I was sitting at a bar having a going away lunch with a dear friend. I ordered a glass of Macallan 12 year scotch with one cube. Except that instead of “cube” it came out of my mouth as “stone”. The young female bartender with the face of an angel smiled and asked, “Would ice be okay?” Realizing my poor choice of words, I apologized for confusing her.

Her eyes twinkled as she replied, “You’re going to make me cry.”

My friend quickly recommended, “You should go into the freezer to cry so that your tears make him some special ice cubes.”

At this point my overactive imagination took over and the next five minutes, I “think wrote” a scene for an upcoming short story involving a beautiful barkeep, a character ordering a drink with one stone and some ice made from the tear of a goddess. The scene will be the catalyst some unusual story lines.

My friend, who is also my alpha reader, laughed until she cried at the way the scene came together. She had never seen me do that before and has been wondering how I worked.

Every personal interaction can be tweaked a bit and used as the groundwork for your story. Maybe the arrogant moving company agent turns into the guild master who doesn’t realize he’s dealing with a master assassin. Perhaps the talkative real estate agent makes the perfect noble fop to obtain intelligence from on the royal court.

The bottom line is this: keep your eyes and other senses open because you never know where the next interesting idea will come from.

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More Ideas than time!

WIP

 

 

 

 

Lately, it seems that new ideas for stories crash into my head on a daily basis. Each one new and different. Some with characters I know and some completely new. I scribble down the idea and sometimes fragments of scenes or dialog. Then, just when I start to feel comfortable with a new idea. a different one pops into my head. The process begins again. Never do I have time to complete the story. They just keep coming like waves in the ocean. It frightens me that I do not have time to write them all. Even if I was a fast typist, I doubt I could get them all finished. I keep the notes safe for some future date because, what frightens me more is when the ideas stop coming.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Thoughts on Writing

 

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Free at Last!

“Ha, ha! I’m free at last, free at last!!!”

Free at Last!!

Free at Last!!\

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Finally! That wretched creature you call the Domestic CEO released me from my plastic coffin. Stuffed in there with effigies of witches, pumpkins and candy corn, I’ve been in mass graves with fewer occupants. I thought I was your writing partner? Huh? Wasn’t that what we agreed to?”

“Uh…yes it was but, I didn’t realize she packed you away until it was too late to come find you. Besides, I knew you’d make an appearance about this time.”

“Some friend you are! Hey, you’ve been busy. The stories coming along and I like the twist…”

“Hush, Nabob! don’t give it away.”

“Okay, okay. But look at that section in the beginning with the entire cast. Now that really needs some work. What were you thinking?”

“Well, I was trying to keep the story moving forward and kind of glossed over it. I knew I’d come back and fix it later.”

“It’s time to get it done, Writer.”

“Not quite yet, Nabob. I still need to finish the last three scenes.”

“Oh yeah. Shitty first draft and all that, right?”

“Right.”

So, Writer, where are you at?”

“I’m in the middle of the big fight scene where Derek and Amy are …”

“Good to be back, Writer.”

“Good to have you back, Nabob.”

 

 
 

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Inspiring Spaces

inspiringspaces

 

 

 

 

As part of a blog hop run by Cate Russell-Cole, I was tagged by a wonderful lady named Jade Reyner, to share spaces that inspire me to write. Notice I did not say writing spaces. These are two different things for me. I posted about one of my three writing spaces back in June 2012 in a View of the Room. This is actually my home office where I do my day job one day a week and when I’m on call. It is full of inspiration and I love to be in this room even though oddly, it is not where I do most of my writing.

Reference and reading room

Reference and reading room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have another writing room that houses most of my reference library, a comfortable chair for reading, and several paintings created by a friend who was inspired by one of my short stories. However, the spaces that inspire me to write are rarely indoors.

Inspirational View

Inspirational View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who follow this blog know that I spend a great deal of time at my cabin. And, if you read back through my posts, you will find numerous references to the lake, the weather, and the fauna who allow me to interact with them. I find that nature inspires me more than anything else. When I get stuck, lost, frustrated, etc., going back to nature sets things right. The change of seasons triggers different moods that translate easily to the page.

Treasure trove of inspiration.  en.Wikipedia.com

Treasure trove of inspiration. en.Wikipedia.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another source of inspiration are the numerous antique and junk shop excursions the Domestic CEO drags me invites me to join her on. Seeing the odds and ends of eras long gone, fires my imagination. I see a vase or a chair and I wonder where they have been? Who owned them? What type of house was it? Why did the owners part with the object? You can easily see where this line of thinking takes me.

Anyway, All my teachers used to say that I liked to daydream and look out the window. That’s where my inspiration was all along.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Musings and Odd Thoughts

 

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Once upon a time…

Once upon a time... Public domain image

Once upon a time…                                   Public domain image

If you have ever read folk tales, fairy tales, or fantasy stories of any kind, you have heard the words, “Once upon a time…” The purpose of the fantasy writer, and any writer for that matter is to transport the reader to another time and place. Can you think of four words that do a better job of opening the reader’s mind? The essence of this opening evokes the reader’s mind to journey to a land far away and usually a long time ago. The ‘Once” would indicate that the story only occurred one time. And, since most end with, “They lived happily ever after.” it would seem that the conflict that created the story was gone forever.

For the folk tales and fairy tales of old, This was a great way to open the story. Any time we heard that phrase we were prepared, and still are prepared to be transported to something special. We have talked about opening lines before and how important they are. However, the fantasy genre has evolved and expanded. Paranormal and horror have melded with fantasy. Vampires and werewolves have taken over for elves, halflings, and dwarves.

Urban fantasy has exploded. Every major city and more than a few minor ones have been converted into the hunting grounds for the above mentioned vampires and Lycans, as well as, zombies, wizards, demons, druids, fae, dragons, and yes, even elves. Writing about fantasy in the current modern world created some interesting challenges for writers. How to invoke that sense of wonder and departure from reality in a way the reader would believe.  

Take Jim Butcher’s epic urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files. In the first book Butcher uses the entire first page to introduce The main character. The new mailman can’t believe the sign outside Harry Dresden’s office. It says, ‘Harry Dresden, Wizard’. You see Harry is the only practicing wizard in the Chicago phone book. Butcher puts it in your face on the first page and you either accept it or not. but from that point on you know you are reading a fantasy story set in contemporary Chicago, Illinois.

Where Butcher uses a page, others still try it with one sentence. For example, let’s take the opening line from Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, “There are many perks to living for twenty-one centuries, and foremost among them is bearing witness to the rare birth of genius.” Okay. We will be dealing with a person who was alive and fought with Genghis Khan. You think this is a fantasy story? And even though I am not a fan of vampire stories, this opening line to Jaye Wells’ “Red-headed Stepchild” had me for the duration of the series. “Digging graves is hell on a manicure, but I was taught good vampires clean up after every meal.” This vampire does NOT sparkle! But, she does have a great sense of humor.

So, what can we do to urbanize the classic opening, “Once upon a time…?” Granted it’s not as flashy but what about…

“Right now, in a city near you.”

 
11 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2014 in The Journey into Fantasy

 

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Just Weird!

Have you every sat down to do something and the next thing you know a whole day has gone by? It’s been eleven days since my last post and for the life of me, I have no idea where the time went. It’s not like when I was unemployed for five months and would play Harpoon on my IBM Model 50z from 9:00 PM until 3:00 AM. I knew what I was doing then. I was a conscious choice. I was trying to escape the fact that 250 resumes were sent out to 250 companies and only two interviews were generated. If you have to take off your shoes to figure out the numbers, that’s 248 reject letters!!! But I digress.

I got a flash update on MAVEN ans the next thing I know it’s Friday morning a week later and I don’t know where the time went. There is some good news. Wherever the time went, at least some of it went towards the WIP. Progress is being made and the writing habit I set out to create this year seems to be working. As you’ll see later even that had huge amounts of weirdness. Now that I know I lost time, I’ve been trying to find it. It’s strange there are just blank spots that I can’t account for. All of the important stuff got done like paying bills loving on the cats, and going to work. So, I was at least functioning physically. Quite strange.

Have you ever gone back to review your writing progress and determined that your word count for the last week has been EXACTLY the same everyday? I kid you, not! Every day since the 3rd the number of words spilling out of my head and into the laptop as been EXACTLY the same!!! The time spent writing varies from day-to-day by anywhere from five to twenty minutes.

So, what gives? Any ideas? Today is the full moon so that can’t be it. The waxing moon is my high energy period of the month. Maybe that plays into it? But, why do I write the same number of words? The scenes have been different in nature and feel. The one constant, which has been so for well beyond the period in question, has been writing have been fun. I like what’s coming out and it seems to be working. The muse is not fussing and the internal editor has gone south to get out of the extreme cold we’ve been dealing with.

Maybe this weirdness is a good thing? Oh, oh. i got an idea for the beaded moccasin scene, gotta go. See you later.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Other Strangeness

 

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Fantasy tidbits

Today I am guest posting for follow blogger byjhmae. I was surprised when she asked me. But I jumped at the chance. She always has an interesting take on writing and current issues. If you have not already dropped by her blog, do so. You will not be disappointed. And today, you would get the added pleasure of hearing more from me. 😉

As the title suggests I talk about how fantasy and bringing different spiritual cultures together can create conflict. There are also a few other tidbits on fantasy writing and magic systems. Enjoy.

Fantasy – the purest form of fiction

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 12, 2013 in The Journey into Fantasy

 

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