Monday, August 29, 2011

Idea Hunting II

Monday, August 29

In my last post, I wrote about my using news stories from various sources to spur my thinking process and get ideas. This post will speak of one of my projects.

Of the many ways I cruise around to find ideas for my stories, reading the local and regional newspapers provides me with the most inspiration for my story ideas. Even though my stories are basically science fiction, I take material from several articles to formulate a new story idea or even give life to an old idea that fell onto a rough patch.

So, during the last few months, I collected a certain section out of the regional newspaper that covers nation/world news. Then I pull the article titles off of the page(s) and place them in chronological order in my word processor. I sometimes add notes about the article as well.

My Goal: To collect six months of these titles and then start building my short story series involving a space station in a far away galaxy. I intend to weave the stories around a series of articles appropriate for the era. Using the titles of these articles, I plan to build fictitious articles that go along with the overall story arc. Whether it is one of the main characters or one of the secondary ones, a character would read several news headlines. I hope to use this as a method of foreshadowing the story.

To tell the truth, I do not know how this will turn out. I hope to spend the month going through all of my notes I have collected for the series and start building an outline for the whole thing.

Also, while going through those articles, I spotted items that I wouldn’t mind integrating into a short story in the series as well.

What about you? Are you working on anything particular?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hunting for Ideas

Thursday, August 25

I know I have written about his before, but I feel that I should encroach the subject again.

Have you ever read a news article, watched a news report or heard a news report that triggered an idea for a story idea? The news item(s) doesn’t(don’t) have to be a major news story but something in the back of the newspaper or near the last part of a television/radio newscast that starts you to thinking.

This happens to me all the time. If I don’t watch out, I will saturate my mind with an overflow of ideas. Then there are times that the news doesn’t capture my imagination. The funny thing is that what did not catch my attention one time may catch it the second time around.

Yet, I find myself collecting these bits and pieces of information from the news stories and placing them in my journal for future reference. Then I go through the material on occasion to pull material for my current work in progress.

In the past, I’ve used news stories to help break a block in my writing. It allows me to expand on my story when I feel stuck. Then my story goes off in another direction. Yes, I usually have to put a note in my work to go back and foreshadow if there is a need for it. We do not need a new character to just appear on page 100.

Sometimes when I listen to or read the news, I do feel depressed in that it is usually about something that went wrong somewhere. But, I do not limit myself to the bad news. I also like to note the good news as well.

So the next time you watch/listen to the news on television/radio or read the paper, listen for those juicy morsels of information that may add some dimension to your story.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Welcome from the Nation of Procrasti

Monday, August 22

Hello, today, I speak to you about my resent visit to the Procrasti Nation. I also refer to it as the ‘Land of Later.’ My habit of putting things off until later has gotten me in trouble again.

You see, I had several chances of building my blog posts but decided to do them later. The problem with doing them later is that I tend to forget to do what I planned to get done until the deadline had passed.

That’s why I missed the last two entries of my blog. Thinking I had plenty of time to work on it, I found that I put the task off until later; then, I promptly forgot to do it all together. Thus, my trip to the Nation of Procrasti has gotten me in trouble.

I intended to write these blog posts and really do not have any excuse for not writing them. They don’t take much time to write. Most of the time, the ideas flow easily onto the screen as my fingers fly across the keyboard.

Anyway, as for ideas, I stumbled across two pages containing doubled-column lists of blog ideas. So, I can’t use the excuse of not having a subject for my post.

So, I stumbled out of the ‘Land of Later’ to start work on this blog post and still managed to get to it almost too late. I’m tired of not getting things done, so earlier, I sat down and wrote a list of 12 items that I wish to complete this week. My plan is to dedicate time toward each of these items on that list until they get done.

The list has been prioritized. Writing my two blog posts for this week is at the top of that list. It is among the top five in the list that will get the most attention. (The top item on the list is editing a first draft of the first book I completed.)

Other items on my list (not in any order of priority) are building a newsletter, building an article, reading a book, backing up my data, and doing a few items toward my writers’ group duties.

Now, the question of the week: Do you ever visit the Nation of Procrasti? If so, when do you most likely find yourself wandering in the vast fields of Procrast Nation to put off doing important work or activities? How do you get yourself motivated enough to get out of the “Land of Later” and start working?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Family Events

Thursday, August 11

Today, I wish to discuss another source for story ideas - family events or stories. I attend a family reunion every year. As usual, I volunteered to build a reunion newsletter which will consist of family stories, recipes and photos.

This year, one of the stories pertained to a life-sized doll that a cousin talked my aunt into making years ago. Using an old book on doll making as a guide, they took left-over cloth, stocking material and rags to build the doll.

When they got finished with her, Ellie, the human-sized doll, had a face with nose, eyes, lips and a chin. My cousin even put lipstick, a wig, and a hat on her. My aunt placed a pair of shoes on her feet as well.

Believe me, at first glance, she looked real. I said hello to her twice because I saw the silhouette out of the corner of my eye as I closed the front door. It turned out to be this doll sitting in a chair. I was not the only one who had done so.

On one occasion, my aunt had the doll in the back seat of the car because she had to store it someplace. She decided to give the doll to her daughter after she went to the store one day. Upon returning to her car on that hot day, she found confronted by a group of people who seemed to be worried about the “mom” who sat in the back seat of the car. They wanted to know why she left her in that hot car. One person even mentioned breaking the window.

When my aunt opened the car to let them look at “mom,” most got a good laugh out of it though some seemed to be embarrassed. She offered “mom” to anyone in the crowd who wanted her but no one took her up on the offer.

Then there were all of the capers of my cousin and her daughters pulled in an attempt to get rid of the doll. On one occasion, my cousin and her youngest daughter placed Ellie on a park bench with full intentions of leaving it behind forever. They got a good laugh out of the event but then felt guilty for abandoning Ellie and went back and retrieved her.

Eventually, Ellie found her way back into my aunt’s hands. She said that she just could not murder her and place her in a trash can. She donated the doll to an organizational garage sale and has not seen her since. We just hope she found a good home.

I remembered the first time I saw Ellie, the human-sized doll, and my reaction to her. I built a short story around her. My plan it to get that story out and finish it up. But, this is something I believe I could build as a part of a story somewhere.

Do you have a family story or event that you can pull a story idea from? I have many more of them, so be prepared to read them from time to time.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm Back

Monday, August 8

Hello, I am sorry for being silent on my blog lately. I look at it as me taking a three-month vacation which I should not have taken.

Again, let me iterate, I intend to write my two posts a week. They will come out on Mondays and Thursdays. I should be able to keep up with doing it twice a week. I plan on devoting most of my time working on my writing. I have many characters that are screaming at the present time wondering where in the heck I am hiding.

Over the next few weeks, I will be evaluating my goals and sorting through the material I need to work on and the material I want to work on. If I can trim some of my unnecessary items, then I would be happy.

My plan is to dedicate this blog to writing subjects. I hope I have something that I could contribute to those of you who may be stopping by for a visit. I encourage you to ask any questions that may come to mind. I hope I may be able to answer them. If not, I can see if I could find someone who could.

My question for this week will be, “If you were a dragon, would you prefer the hot weather or cold weather?” I ask this as the temperature outside tops 102 degrees Fahrenheit outside the window.

My answer to this question would be that my dragon would prefer the heat over the cold. My reason behind this is that chances are that it may be a cold-blooded creature and may need more of a warm climate in order to function.

Although in cold weather, it should be able to build a fire real easily with one puff of its breath.

What do you believe?