Snatching at ideas

I don’t know how every writer out there writes, and I certainly won’t pretend to know.  If nothing else, I like to be honest about how little I know.  It keeps me humble and makes me look slightly amusing, two qualities I enjoy.

One thing I do know, however, is how the ideas bouncing around in my head turn into stories, and I felt that would make for a nice return from the holiday weekend.

Again, I’m not speaking for anybody but me.  So there’s that.

At any point in time, there are dozens of ideas bouncing around in my head.  Some are more fully formed than others, and some bounce around a lot faster, really grabbing my attention.  None of them, however, is a complete idea for a story.  They’re pieces, fragments.  Without something else to go with it, they’re useless.

Luckily, most days the ideas will find each other.  A little something from here will latch onto a little something from there, and the ideas turn into something new.  If that happens enough, I’ve got a story.  It’s tough to say when the ideas have turned into a story except to say it just feels “right.”  When that feeling hits, there’s nothing quite like it.

Sometimes, however, that feeling doesn’t hit at all.  There’s been one idea floating in my head for seven years now, but I haven’t been able to find something that fits with it and makes it a story… yet.

Deeper Waters from Broken Skin is a good example of things coming together the right way.  For years, I’d been sitting on the idea of a small rivier town that’s been flooded up to the second story.  I knew there was something in the water, but I didn’t really know what.  Only when that idea came together with the notion for white trash magician Charlie Crawdad and the memory of a town that had been filled in after a flood did the story start to take shape.  Without coming together, those ideas would have just been a bunch of parts.

So that’s how I do it.  Equal parts construction, magic, and dumb luck.  Kinda like everything else.

2 thoughts on “Snatching at ideas

  1. Image of the inside of your head: particle accelerator.
    See what you can do with that tidbit.

  2. Good description. For me they more drift and flicker than bounce.

    Oh yeah, got my CD the other day. It was great seeing your name on the cover. I pointed it out to my girlfriend, and then I had to explain why I was pointing it out. One day everyone else will be as excited as me…

    Solid story though; it left me feeling like I missed something. I had to read it a couple times to make that feeling go away. That’s not a bad thing.

    Michael Marano kinda ticked me off with his review of The Watchmen. Came across like he had something against Zack Snyder. He’s still my favorite critic though.

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