Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More Inspiration


Wednesday, May 11

Today, I decided to write on inspiration again. One of my favorite ways of being inspired is seeing something that is out of place. I start asking why is this thing out of place, and before I know it, I am trapped in a story idea.

Yesterday afternoon, I went into a store to get some things to eat on before I exercised. On the way in, I spotted what looked to be a silver camera with the screen torn off. I had planned to report it to the store’s manager but got distracted and didn’t think of it again.

At least, not until this morning. I remembered that camera sitting on a stack of area classified advertisement newspapers. One paper had been placed on top of the camera but it did not conceal the device too well.

What if I had my character find one just like it? What if s/he loved to play with broken gadgets and s/he managed to get the camera to come up? Would s/he find anything on the device’s internal memory?

All one has to do is to toss in a filmed murder of someone by a famous criminal and a mystery is born. The person who left it behind hoped that someone would pick it up and turn it over to the law.

Now, there are all kinds of questions that need to be answered:
Who left it behind?
Why did they leave it behind and where are they now?
Did the person who owned the camera put a message on the camera as well?
Who got killed?
What is your character going to do with this information?
Is the person who found the camera in danger?
If not, how does s/he find out that s/he is in danger?

I can keep this up and with each answer I come up with, I can probably build more questions that need answers.

So, does this give you any ideas for a story? I know I have ideas for one. Now, I just need to put my butt in a chair and hands on a keyboard.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Inspiration


Sunday, May 8

Inspiration can come from many sources. This past week, I found inspired by a situation that I did not anticipate. At times like this, I keep a voice recorder with me in order to capture the flow of ideas.

Yet, this time my voice recorder became source of my inspiration. Most of the time, I keep the device turned off and placed in my shirt pocket. But, a couple of days ago I heard a beep when I brushed my hand against my pocket. This beep is the one I get from the device when I stop recording. My curiosity piqued.

Sure enough, I found the on/off switch in the ‘on’ position and I had recorded a message. After inspecting the recording, I found that I had recorded the last 2.5 hours prior to discovering the device being active.

The content of the recording was series of crunching sounds where I walked over gravel, electronic noises of various devices, a radio in the background and various conversations. Nothing spectacular other than it did provide me with material that I could use to add suspense in my writing. Adding background noises that could heighten the intensity of a scene.

Now, the inspiration I got was an idea for a story. What if a character accidentally turned on the voice recorder s/he had in a pocket? What if said character had been attacked and the recorder picked up the sounds of the attack including the assailant’s voice? Now, I had not made up my mind if this character gets killed or ends up in a coma.

If s/he were killed, the main character would find this and use information on it to determine what went on. If s/he ended up in a coma and awakens not able to remember the events, s/he could use the information along with memory flashbacks to develop the story.

Currently, I do not know how I will use this information or the ideas that came from my inspiration. Have you found yourself inspired at the most inopportune time? How did you handle it?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Endangering Your Characters


Sunday, May 1

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy May Day. Let's all go out and have a field day. I plan on doing some grilling.

Currently, I’ve worked on a variety of writing projects. One group of projects falls under the title of “Endangering Your Characters.” In this series of articles, I plan to build samples of how writers can use safety tips to keep safe but also using them to either keep your characters safe or placing them in danger just to see how they get out of the trouble.

My first article of this series will be on using tips a person can use to make themselves a hard target. There are several sites on the Internet that offer tips which one can use in their personal life to keep safe and in their writing life to enhance a story. When I typed in the words “hard target” into my web browser, I get a list of sites with advice on how to make yourself a hard target.

Like me, you may have heard of some of these safety tips at various times in your life. One site I like to reference is a blog titled “Attacking The Page.” I advise you to visit the site and read through some of their safety tips. The first set of safety tips is the Safety Tip Of The Week of March 25, 2010: Be A Hard Target. And do not skip the comments because there are some good tips mixed in them as well.

What I did was to pick one to three of the tips and make my characters either follow or break the rules. What I use will depend on what is going on in that part of the book. If the character has no clue to what is going on, s/he may walk into a situation and find her/himself in danger. If the character has some training, the author can show the various steps s/he take to keep safe.