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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Pooh goes to his Thoughtful Place

   
Author Topic: Pooh goes to his Thoughtful Place
JK
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Here's a more fun question for everyone. Where do you come up with your best ideas?
JK

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Danzig
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Usually I listen to music, which inspires me. Also, I have a huge list of magical creatures on my hard drive which I can look at and randomly select one, and think of a story.

Dreaming in Digital,

Danzig


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srhowen
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Hmm,

Music, a picture, a statue---one thing can set it off. I have one story that I listened to the fight music from Mortal Combat until people in the house threatened to break the CD. (I got the headphones relpaced) I often do that write entire stories or books to one song.

Shawn


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Locke
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I have a cheesy plastic skull that i stare at for long periods of time then write stuff.
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kwsni
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I get ideas from everywhere... it's just that most of them wouldn't make a story you could amuse a two-year-old with. I kind of keep them filed in my head, (don't ask me how, i just do) and sometimes they spice up a story I'm already working on.

kwsni


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Brinestone
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I think best when I walk, and that's nice when I'm on campus and have to walk a lot.
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SiliGurl
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Anywhere and everywhere. I find that I am very influenced by what's going around me, what I've seen or read or heard lately. Usually something will inspire me to want to know more, and then when I start digging into this Thing that I want to learn about, story ideas or concepts pop in. A for instance, I loved the movie The Mummy (no flames please, it was campy but entertaining). It renewed my interest and passion for Egyptology (yes, Indiana Jones convinced me I wanted to be an archaelogist when I was a kid too!). In the course of my digging into this new found subject of interest, I came across an interesting passage that related to vampires. Poof! A story idea was born...
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JP Carney
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Hmmm, not always sure where my ideas come from, but I had an experience recently that was pretty cool. I wrote an essay in college that was a journal-like account of a journey. I've always wanted to dramatize it, and started a couple of weeks ago (yes, the other two pieces are now on the back burner). Things were going well, and the intro was moving along, then I got to a point where I was happy with where I was, and knew where I wanted to go, but the transition wasn't real smooth in my head. The next night I laid down (yes, I occassionally write in bed) to write, and there was a major storm outside. Head on hands, I listened to the downpour for a while, and poof! there was my solution.

The rain to which my character had fallen asleep in the story had brewed overnight into a major storm. The lightening was needed to remove one conflict point, and the torrent of rain was needed to create the river flowing near by (or more accurately, to make it raging, audible, to show it was there).

Funny, but before that night with the storm outside, I had my character waking up and just being able to see again (the serene sunrise, which I'll still use, but much more effectively now), and stumbling onto the quiet river. Now, it's much more dramatic, and a much smoother transition. More believable than 'la dee da, I can see and oh there's a river'.

I know the story specifics don't mean anything to you, but the elements that inspired my writing, that crept into the story completely unplanned and unexpected, worked great. Thought it was a pretty cool example of the way the writing process can work at times.


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JP Carney
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I find that many of my ideas come unexpected and unannounced, during quiet times, or times when my mind is occupied (though not fully) with something else. Something will pop up from the back burner, something I had stewing for a while, or something completely new, but which I can usually find an origin (music, line in a book/poem/comicbook, something someone said in the office).

I find when I try real hard to make something come, it usually doesn't; but it doesn't mean the grappling with the idea hasn't been useful. Usually my mind tries to wrap around it while I'm away, and brings me something later. Without the hard thinking before, it never would have come. I try not to get discouraged, I just keep working different angles for a while, and let the back burner cream the mix later.


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WillC
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For me, boredom is birthdom.
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Waxwing
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I remember my dreams a lot, and sometimes my best story ideas have come from dreams.

And sometimes I get ideas by asking questions. For example... I was walking in a local park, and I saw a tree that was very old and gnarled, and had a spot on it that looked somewhat like a face. I wondered when that tree was planted, and under what conditions... and I got an idea about a live forest with the ability to speak, move and defend themselves, that has dwindled because of age to a few lonesome and far-between hoary old trees. (Not a story idea in and of itself, but certainly an interesting story element.) (And yes, I've gotta admit-- it sounds a lot like Tolkien's Ents...)


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Khavanon
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When something crosses my mind. I have the most difficult time trying to create a story out of thin air. But when it does cross my mind, then I develop it. Well, every thought I suppose could be done this way, but only a few are interesting enough.
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dragontouch
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where do i get story ideas? everywhere, anywhere...

i could be out walking and see two kids playing together, which would get me thinking, and after a while i'd come up with an idea about a kingship that only becomes legal when the heir prince kills his youngest brother, a ritual that was the invention of a power-hungry dictator (oxymoron there) but evolved into part of a full-blooded religion...

my main problem is that i get overloaded on story ideas, and very involved in the stories i'm working on. i have to keep up with what's going on in different stories while at the same time devoting full attention to the work in progress, which in itself is pretty difficult, and made more so seeing that there's such a thing as school.

if i had the time to write the way i prefer to write, one of my stories might actually develop and end, but as it is i have pages and pages of 'excerpts' on every story.

besides the fact that some stories stall simply because i know that i require a great deal more knowledge in order to do the story justice...so right now my first priority has to be focused on learning, as i hope it always will be anyway...


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JP Carney
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Another place I've gotten ideas from lately has been through a collaboration with a musician buddy of mine. We've been throwing out one liners, song/story titles, and bouncing ideas off one another that often evolve into a good short, a poem, or song lyrics. I find the collaboration quite energizing, and fun. We have rules set out, no self-censoring, all ideas are good ideas, etc. The free flow of ideas is quite refreshing and really provides a wealth of possibilities. Of course, we let things drop as often as not, but what we continue to develop has rather unique and much more than if either of us had tried to develop the idea on our own.

[This message has been edited by JP Carney (edited May 22, 2001).]


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Hanrod Brightstar
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I get my best ideas in the bathroom or on the toilet. The hard tiles must reflect and concentrate my creativity waves, man.
No I'm not a hippy (not that there's anything wrong with that) and, no, I don't spend an inordinate time on the can! I do like long showers, though...
Also, the things that really irritate me give me ideas.

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JK
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Hanrod, that's got to be the oddest one I've ever heard in my life! Congratulations.
JP, that last one sounds excellent! It's pretty unconventional - yes, I do love things that go against the norm - and it sounds like fun.
Personally, I find WillC's is closer to my way than anyone else's. Lessons are the best place to have ideas, for me at least. My mind likes to break out and run free in green fields when I'm bored, and it gets it's best ideas out there. Course, I get into trouble when it's unexpectedly called for, and it can't get back in time. A piece of advice: dribbling is not an adequate explanation of Plato's Theory of Forms.
A bored mind is a dangerous thing.
JK

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srhowen
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Anger is another one. If I am angry or truly MAD---I can sit down and bang a bunch of stuff. Not that it's anything I'd ever want anyone to see but hey it gets me going sometimes.

Shawn

[This message has been edited by srhowen (edited May 28, 2001).]


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Doc Brown
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This is surprisingly effective, and it might work well for others:

I get myself to start writing. Even if I am uninspired, and even if I start out writing poorly, I begin to write. I need to get a few words down on paper.

Then I invoke the mystical creative powers of Snickers. I slowly eat a large Snickers ( Hershey's, Three Musketeers, etc.) bar, and by the time I finish the candy good ideas just come pouring out of my sugar-charged brain!

Physiologically it makes sense that this would help, but I am always amazed at how doggone effective it is.

Now pardon me while I step out. The vending machine becons . . . and Doc must respond.


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srhowen
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hmmm----for me I need a can of diet Pepsi--sorry no candy for me I'm diabetic.

But siting down and writing no matter what is a good soloution---write long enough and enough words and there are bound to be some good ones in there somewhere.

Shawn


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Writer_Actress
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As Stephen King so wonderfully states in his book on writing, On Writing, there is no Island of Ideas or anything. Ideas come to you non-stop, but it takes a great writer to actually see them when they do come. For instance, I accidentally walked out of a doctor's office with one of their magazines and an idea came to me that I could use it as a story idea--a humorous story about a girl who steals a waiting room magazine on accident and is pursued by the police.

The most ideas for me come out of what I'm interested in. Like (about a year ago) I loved Fairies so I wrote a short story about a girl who found out she was a fairy. Like I said, it's the most ideas, not the best ones. The best idea I have ever had for a story was in a popcorn story where a kid was in a pyramid and all this cool, high tech scary stuff was going on. unfortunately, my friends and I ended each part with: Josiah knew that he would never get out. or even: Those dark, pitiless eyes told him that he would never see his father's palace again.


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chad_parish
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(Once again, I'm new, so please forgive me for resurrecting an older thread.)

Ideas?

The library, usaually. There are certain journals I flip through whenever they come in (Nature, Aerospace America, etc.) Also, I subscribe to Discover magazine. I get most of my ideas by reading what real scientists are doing this week.

If there was a journal called Physica Esoterica, or whatever, I'd subscribe!

I was working out some planet-building equations for one story, and had a "What if...?" shiver run down my spine. Changed a few numbers, looked at the results, cranked out a 500 word short-short almost instantly. (It hasn't sold, of course. Ah well.)

Organ music by Bach helps, too.

[This message has been edited by chad_parish (edited June 18, 2001).]


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chad_parish
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Wait, one more:

I got an interesting twist on how to kill vampires while working out at karate. (Sharpen a long-staff.) My first, and so far only, fantasy story.

Slightly off-topic question:
There seems to be a lot of fictional swordplay (et al.) around here. Anybody ever actually fence, or whatnot?


Very off topic:
I'm not a black-belt or anything, but I'd be happy to help people discuss the plausibility of fight scenes. (I personally practice unarmed techniques, and some slight experience with nunchucks and long staffs.)


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IonFish
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My best ideas come to me while I'm walking home in the dark, orange streetlights making raindrops glitter like sparks. It's always quiet (because it's two o'clock in the morning), and I'm usually drunk or contemplative (often both). I carry a small notebook with me for those moments.
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JK
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You know what, chad, I may just steal that idea *grins*. Actually, does it have to be sharpened to kill? Surely if you slam it in hard enough, it doesn't matter if it's blunt or not? I'll have to research that...
And I'm actually beginning some martial arts training to increase my combat believablility (SP?). It's amazing what we do for our art.
JK

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chad_parish
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Quote: It's amazing what we do for our art."

Ain't it? I started martial arts a few months before I started writing (more) seriously, so the two sort of meshed. I've personally expended a lot of skull-sweat on how unarmed combat in zero-gravity (or low gavity) would fare.

Quote: "Actually, does it have to be sharpened to kill? Surely if you slam it in hard enough, it doesn't matter if it's blunt or not? I'll have to research that..."

I don't know -- it's just fantasy; set up your rules ahead of time, and stick to them, right?

...Although I wouldn't want to try to stick anything dull through a person's sternum... but if you could dig up -- though the solar plexus, say -- and hit the heart...

My mental defense mechanism is that writing is a "craft" or "hobby;" that way I don't feel so bad when I screw up. (Hey, it's just my hobby. So what?)

It's Tang Soo Do I consider my art.

[This message has been edited by chad_parish (edited July 12, 2001).]


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A_Bear
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Well, I am a Marine, and one thing they did not tell us was how MUCH time I would have to think. I sit around and wait... A LOT. I carry a little notebook or paper or something and write down my ideas. Sometimes its a plot line, other times its a conversation and I insert / build a story from that.

I can not possibly convey to you how much 'standing around' i do. Really.

Arron


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Em
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From the faeries.
I have them all over the place! There is the bathtub faerie, the sleepis-interruptus faerie, the driving home from work and I can't find a pen faerie, etc. They are all over the place!

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bewilderedandconfused
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many of the ideas i have had come from the Bible. not just simple sunday school stories of david and goliath and noah and the flood but the spiritual conflict that has been here since almost the begining. There are a billion stories i could get out of that book if only i could turn one of these ideas into one complete and finished story.
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Em
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never look back. It turns one into a pillar of salt!
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Soule
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I get my best ideas reading National Geographic (please, no comments from the peanut gallery, and no questions from the skeptical-just except, and continue, or smile, nod, and carry on ), or while I'm really really bored - my mind wanders, and suddenly I'm in the midst of a something-or-other. Also, one idea came to me in a dream. I fell asleep writing something else, and had the wierdest dream, that turned into a really niftyspiffy story!! (again, smile, nod, and carry on...)
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Cosmi
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sorry for drudging up an older topic, but i just couldn't resist.

for the most part my inspiration comes from no where i can think of. i can be doing anything, feel the need to write, and have to sit down and do it. i don't even know what i'm writing about until it's on the paper. then i just go from there.

another big inspiration is playing with pre-existing stories (behold the daydream! [insert holy music here]). that way, i can go through all sorts of plots, dialogues, etc. without having to create any characters. and if i'm lucky, my daydreaming will create a character.

or a plot worthy of writing about.

or both!

but not very often. still, it sure is fun!

TTFN & lol

Cosmi

[This message has been edited by Cosmi (edited October 02, 2001).]


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Cosmi
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also, the porcelain (sp?) pee-hole does render some pretty interesting results.

literary results, i mean.

gotta go...

[This message has been edited by Cosmi (edited October 02, 2001).]


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Soule
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I beleive I have said this before, but have gotten no response, nor can I find it.

Lot's of times when I write, I just let my creative or subconcious or whatever side of my brain take over, and I'm really not even thinking. Then, when I stop writing, I have no idea what I've written. So, I have to go back and read everything just to stay on the same page as my, um, self...anyway, it produces a neat effect - I really am a first-time reading, able to give myself honest feedback, and to know what to scrap and what's ok, but it takes forever, because not only do I have to go through the usual process of writing and re-writing, I also have to re-read it everytime I write something new, because I don't even remember the gist of it. Would there be a more effective way to keep myself down-to-earth, but getting the same effect, or is this pretty much a you-want-to-read-your-own-stuff-for-the-first-time-do-this-or-get-amnesia kind of thing?

Also, if you were to see a book written by a Soule V. Wells, would you think, "Freak writer", "Cool name", or not even care?

Thanks!


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Augustine
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Soule--

They way you write sounds a lot like the way Ray Bradbury writes. Have you read his Zen in the Art of Writing? Stephen King writes much in the same way, knocking out 10 pages a day until the first draft is done. Then he lets it set for two months or so (he's speaking about novel writing) and then goes back and begins a massive rewrite. You may want to read King's On Writing, too.

It seems to me you just have to write the way that comes naturally to you. And if your working on a long story, review what you wrote the previous day before you begin working that day. And take notes of what you have written, too. Because as your manuscript grows, you wont want to be re-reading the whole thing each day.

And the question about your name, I wouldn't care. If it's a good story, I would read it.

Peace

[This message has been edited by Augustine (edited October 03, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Augustine (edited October 03, 2001).]


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DanJW
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Inspiration is a tricky thing. In my opinion (understanding that others disagree) the best thing to do with a muse is to send it to military school so it can learn some discipline. I write the same time every day, for a set minimum time. For me that is an hour, and generally by the time the hour is up I have come up with something and stopping is more of a problem than having something to write about.

While I write I listen to music, preferably something that doesn't have lyrics, which distract me. Or at least, lyrics that I understand. Classical, for obvious reasons, works best for this. I generally don't listen close enough to hear the title, so when I hear, for example, Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring", I don't know it as such and the images I get probably have nothing to do with spring.


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PaganQuaker
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I store up ideas in my database of ideas (I think I have 176 cataloged now), but of course I've built database applications for years and storing ideas has become second nature.

Some of my favorite ideas are stolen directly from people's lives; others come from misunderstanding (willingly, sometimes) something someone has said or something I see. Every once in a while I get one from a song title or peculiar phrase, but these are the most limited when they come out.

Usually the music I listen to is to keep me pumped up; I can't listen to vocals when I start in, but prefer them once I'm in the groove. Natalie Merchant and Counting Crows are favorites for this purpose.

Rickie Lee Jones supplied the title and basic idea (not that she meant to) for the story I just wrote, "Last Chance Texaco." Bless her heart.

Luc


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Chrono
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well... i like to turn on some music and agressively pace the floor with no controll over my arms the music is usually house, rock alternitave, punk,scaa (punk rock with a trombone tis relly good try it,the mission impossible 2 soundtrack,and music from this site

http://www.angelfire.com/ky2/NikeBoy21sWebPage/music.html

i now its music from a cartoon, but listin to it its good for storie thinkin

o ya all my best ideas come late at night probably caus im tierd

[This message has been edited by Chrono (edited November 09, 2001).]


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JK
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I actually find that some lyrics can be quite inspirational. Of course, if they're that good, they can also be distracting. I listen to them a few times, jot down initial ideas, then listen to music with no lyrics, like you said, DanJW. Classical bugs me, though, I listen to Jamiroquai. The funk picks up my mind, sends it racing.
JK

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SarkyC
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I find music works best - but depending at what stage of development the story is at:
- atmospheric instrumental (ambient etc)I fine to be good for developing the idea and the meaning of a story (especially Mike Oldfield - listen to his "Songs of Distant Earth" album), or even Brian Eno.
- for action sequences some heavy rock tracks and so forth.
Whatever music gets me in the right frame of mind for the scene - there's no point me being in a lethargic state if I want to try and write an heroic action scene - your lethargy just comes through in the writing and I'll end up re-writing most, if not all of it when I'm in the right frame of mind.

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