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Generating Ideas

posted Jul 25, 2016, 5:37 PM by Ben Kreucher   [ updated Jul 26, 2016, 5:34 AM ]
Where do ideas come from? Do you snare them out of the void? Is there a lure I can use?

Let's skip ahead. 

You've got an idea: Death takes a holiday. Pretty good. I'm thinking it might look something like the movie Meet Joe Black
Let's stretch the idea a bit. Death takes a holiday. Specifically, Christmas. Now, we're looking at Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas
Let's take it one step further. Death takes a holiday, specifically Christmas, because no one else will do it. Now, that sounds more like Terry Pratchett's Hogfather

See how that happened?

It doesn't matter the idea. Take it and run. Play with it. Explore. Wind. Meander. Get lost. 
Just write. Don't worry about the background, the science, the mechanics, or the magic; just write. Get the words out, find the story. Don't let the research bog you down. 

For example, when writing science fiction--you're a fan of Gene Rodenberry's Star Trek: The Next Generation and know that many episodes begin with Picard recording a new log--you open with "Captain's log, stardate whatever" and you fully intend to fill in the stardate. But what it you don't?

"Captain's log stardate...whatever" is a line from the first movie of the new series of Star Trek movies from J.J. Abrams. It's use shows us Kirk's character and his impatience with regulations and Spock stranding him. 

Or, you could write "Captain's log, stardate ...who the heck cares ". That's a different character, but perhaps an interesting one.  A disgruntled ex-military pilot who bought his own ship, but what about the crew? Can he keep them? Can he even pay them?

Now, you've got the beginning of an idea. An inkling. Where will it lead?
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