I’ve been knee-deep in novel and I have been having so much fun that I’ve hardly come up for air. When I did, it was only to halfway start a story for my Mike Zulu Bravo Challenge . It’s still unfinished, not because I don’t have a story in it, it’s just not that fun to write. While I was writing, I got side-tracked by a couple of ideas that came out of nowhere and wrote a story over 7k words (long in this current industry of ever-shortening stories).
I know some of you guys out there were wondering if I was all right, me being in Iraq in all. Hell, I’m worried more about you guys in the States… the weather’s craziest I’ve ever seen it. I’ve seen a few theories expounded to account for our current madcap weather, but one of the most speculative is the proposal of an approaching Planet X (or Nibiru). I like this theory, and as crazy as it sounds, it’s not only plausible but it accounts for so many strange anomalies in our solar system. Besides, there’s crazier stuff that I’m supposed to believe. Ever hear the one about the talking snake that sold a lady on an evil apple? Worse case of indigestion in history. In context, Planet X doesn’t sound so bad, but the theory’s been laughed at so long now that academics will scrape and claw at something, anything else to account for the unknown. That brings them to Nemesis. It’s a cool name. That brings me to my point.
A lot of fun can be had in crazy ideas. I know sometimes I have my share of them. Sometimes as a writer, not having any ideas isn’t the problem so much as knowing what to do with all the ideas you do have.
I know what you’re asking: What do I do with all these half-baked, half-assed half-notions? It’s simple… remember them. And keep them coming. Sometimes you can get by on writing a quick flash or micro story based on one of these lunatic threads you’re keeping. But more often than not, one idea that was totally random will fuse with something else that was just hanging out in left field. You know what happens after that? Story time happens, gang, story time!
I have a friend who was working beside me out here for a short while. He talked about how he made his own beer when he was back home, complete with labels and everything. It was an interesting conversation, but that was about it. Then one day we happened upon a picture, and for some reason that picture catalyzed with my vision of his beer labels. I told him my idea and he was so enthused, it led to a discussion of other possible labels for other varieties. Now he’s dedicated to making this beer a reality. I love pictures, but I can’t show you what we saw yet… he’d kill me. And since he’s learning to be an EMS, he’d resuscitate me so he could kill me again in an infinite loop of my demise.
Understand that all your crazy ideas aren’t necessarily story ideas. And that the ideas that seem to go nowhere may just be waiting for you to find the right direction to send them down. Part of the trick is knowing which ones to entertain and which to hold onto to entertain later. The important and active thing for you to do is to remember, whether it’s by writing them down, speaking into a tape recorder, blogging, weaving tapestries, telling your pet parrot Crackers McManus, whatever it is that jogs the archives for you, do it.
If you have a wealth of ideas, well it stands to reason some are wealthier than others. But two nickels can make a story that’s a 10… and a dozen of your crazy ass penny-for-a-thought notions together may just make for a story that’s off the charts.