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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Weirdest way for an idea?

   
Author Topic: Weirdest way for an idea?
JohnColgrove
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What's the weirdest way you thought of an idea for a story?

For a second book I started writing, I dreamt about this senile old man with a minigun walked through one of those portals in stargate and started killing these creations by the hundreds! He never ran out of ammo either! When I woke up I immediately wrote that down and it turned out to be a rather unique fantasy novel!


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Natej11
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I think most people would answer that dreams are the weirdest way they've thought of ideas. I know it's the case for me.

I had a dream I was on one of Saturn's moons on the last surviving human colony, after billions of years when the sun had run out of hydrogen and become a red giant. Humans lived in horrible conditions, and nobody understood the technology that kept everyone alive. The closest humanity had were technicians which formed the upper class of society, whose DNA had been encoded with the knowledge they needed to maintain the machines.

I think the DNA encoded memory was one of the main ideas I took from the dream, although I was amazed by how detailed and real it was. I even had a dream within the dream where I saw an image of Earth being evacuated as the sun went nova, encoded in my DNA.


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Robert Nowall
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In my Internet Fan Fiction days, I was washing out some of my "good" shirts in the sink (the washer I had in those days just wore them out if I didn't). It happened to be Halloween, and, between one wringing out and another, I had an idea---for a Christmas story! I had the whole of the draft down right after I finished.
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RoxyL
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Mine just happened to me yesterday!
I teach a 3-5 grade science class at a private school. We were looking at electron micrographs of cells and one of the kids made the weirdest comment. I just when 'huh!' I'm going to have to mull it over, but I know there's a horror story in there somewhere.
Kids are a great source of ideas. They see the world without our cultural or intellectual blinders.

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Reziac
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I get most of my ideas while I'm shoveling the morning poo out of the kennel. This is probably why my MC's life has gone down the crapper.
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LDWriter2
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Hmm, not sure how to respond. I don't think getting idea from dreams are all that weird. I have gotten ideas from dreams I have even written one out. Actually the dream was only half the story, I woke before it ended, so I had to come up with the ending. Most of my dreams are that way.

But recently I got two ideas while watching music videos at the gym. I would rather by listening to books on tape but they're kinda of expensive for longer, newer ones.

One video was of a guy being beaten up by what I think was his girlfriend. I don't mean just once but in a string of ever changing scenaos. Something clicked for an idea, which would probably be very short story.

That's happened before twice. One was a weird video. It starts with the band in a cave but they were only outlined something like a negative, their bodies were filled with flames or some type of energy. That idea would be a longer story.

If I think of something even stranger I will be back.

I'm back.... I just got an idea from that shooting on Arizona. Not sure if what to think of that but people have done stories about 9/11.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited January 13, 2011).]


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rstegman
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I post an idea a day, and have done so since December 1997.
I get ideas from everywhere.
The worst places are where I cannot write the idea down so I can remember it. I hate forgetting ideas no matter how bad they are.

I get very few ideas from dreams. If I remember a sequence, the scene does not follow a logical progression so one segment/image is all that I find is usable. I will then expand that one little segement into something workable.

Another thing I dislike is where I get into a situation where I come up with an idea I had already posted and cannot figure out how to use it differently. I have an excellent memory for the concepts my posts are based on and have not repeated them in all these years.


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LDWriter2
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Just wanted to say that I had two dreams last night about a character I was reading about The MC Marla Mason of T. A. Pratts series. Hmmm, can't find the title of the seriesbut there's more info in the what we are reading thread.

I think this is the first time I've had two dreams about the same character in one night. I've dreamed Honer Harrington, Dray Prescott, Harry Dresden, Star Trek and surprisingly Murder She Wrote. I've had dreams about each more then once but not in the same night.


Marla is a sorcerer and leader of a certain city. The first dream was longer, which isn't unusual for my dreams, even though I can't recall the first part- which also isn't unusual- But she wanted to talk to this lady who had some magical powers and was being careful but during the conversation Marla turned into a Gorilla, as I recalled it had something to do with the conversation, she went off the the woman and somewhere turned into a something. A man sized wingless bird or??? But she kept talking as if she had always been that way. I figured she will soon realized what happened and turn herself back but I woke before it could happen.

The second dream I forget but it was kinda short.

I suppose I could do a story partially based on the first dream.


[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited July 12, 2011).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Mt wife works as an overnight, support manager at Wal Mart. There is one lady who has taken it upon herself to specialize in the dairy cooler--takes an entire night to do a two hour job--who my wife affectionately calls: The Dairy Troll. (Get an idea of what she looks like?)

Well, it got me laughing and thinking about what positions would be best for other mythical creatures. Then I thought about cryptozoology and cryptozoologists, and what one might do if if discovered the creatures were real. And what the government might do to protect them, like endangered species which can communicate, and poof, I had Trolling Back the Prices.


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Foste
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While showering! That's probably the last mental image you want to see so let's leave it at that... But seriously, the morning shower does wonders for me (as do quiet walks). Unspectacular, I know.
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Osiris
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In addition to the ways already mentioned, I will often get ideas from listening to news talk shows. My HM story from Q2 was such a story. I enjoy using stories as a way to explore social issues brought about by science and technology.

I also tend to get many ideas not exactly in my dreams (I don't remember most of them) but in that short transitional time between wakefulness and sleep. Usually I'll be able to jolt myself awake to write it down in my bedside journal, but sometimes I do lose an idea to sleep!

[This message has been edited by Osiris (edited July 12, 2011).]


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Robert Nowall
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I was gonna contribute one idea, but then I noticed this was an old thread revived and I already had.

Instead, I'll talk about that "wakefullness / sleep" thing that came up in the above. I usually have ideas like that...but sometimes they linger in my mind for years, and are an integral part of the process of getting to sleep.

Usually they're kind of perverse and brutal and raunchy and disgusting, unappealing as things to actually sit down and write...but sometimes, one of 'em flares up enough that I've just got to write something down or it'll bother me for, well, years. Over in the "did you write?" thread I mentioned a story like that...fortunately, it took only a couple of days to write out and shove in my files to be forgotten until it flares up again...

There are certainly markets for stuff that's perverse and brutal and raunchy and disgusting...but I'm trying for better.


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MattLeo
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I think the most reliable source of writing ideas is the process of writing itself. Take the most overused cliche of a story, setting, or character and put it into a story. Then try to make it make *sense*; make it *credible*. That process will generate fresh ideas.

I have a friend who has a manuscript for an urban fantasy about vampires. Yes, yet another one, but this one is *fresh*, because she really tried to make the wainscoting world make sense, and turned up a number of original angles on the the urban vampire story.

Dreams are a rich mine of potent imagery, although I've also dreamed reasonably complete and workable solutions to engineering problems I've been wrestling with, or which convinced me to take a certain course when faced with a life changing decision. I suspect dreams sometimes reflect our brains' attempts to integrate our experiences of the prior day into our psyche, which is why if you are wrestling with something it sometimes appears in an unexpected or cryptic way in your dreams.

Writing *The Wonderful Instrument* was one of those things I chose to do in waking life because of a vivid, compelling dream. I was having a recurring dream which I've since discovered is quite common among aspiring authors: the one in which you pick up an unfamiliar musical instrument and discover to your delight that you can play it with effortless beauty. I take the "meaning" of the dream (a term I use cautiously here because I don't believe dreams necessarily have meaning) that one is struggling with a feeling that there is something unexpected inside you that you must show the world.


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axeminister
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Walked into my bedroom, spotted the Smash TV Nintendo 16 cartridge sitting on the game and the sentence -Two men running- popped into my head. Not a stretch considering there's two men on the front of the game, and they generally run a lot, but it was the spark.

18 years later that little spark is my 100k sci-fi novel.

Well, it was a small spark...

Axe


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LDWriter2
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InarticulateBabbler--- you could do a a whole series of stories along those lines. Or if someone would do that hard work do a challenge.

Axe--you know what they say about forest fires.. Yours took a while to smolder but sounds like it got a nice little fire going there.


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hteadx
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I was watching a boys II men video - water runs dry and there was a scene which they were running across a sandy dune in the desert. The next video was a 2pac video and one of the scenes were waves crashing on the beach.

I thought to myself what if deserts had waves of sand. That's how I came up with - the nowhere run-


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InarticulateBabbler
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LDWriter, that would be a cool anthology, eh? E-anthology. $3.99 at Amazon, once all of the stories were ready. Proceeds could go toward helping run this site OR the challenges. Hmmmmmm....
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axeminister
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IB, I don't suppose I could read your troll story just for kicks? That sounds like a fun one.

Also, that would be a fun contest. Maybe just 13 lines, or possibly a longer one like the current WotF contest of 3k words max.

The question is, what would the prize be?

Axe


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