Thursday, March 17, 2011


I often wonder where the ideas come from, the little flashes of insight, memories, or facts that are the germ of a new story. Random events, articles in magazines, the papers, or on the Internet spark something that grows into a "what if" moment.  Usually I chew on it for a while, exploring how it might be worked as a plot, device, or character, fitting it with whatever else gets dredged up in such moments and then, if it seems workable, added to my story ideas file or discarded if it doesn't look like something I'd enjoy working on.  Mostly, the new story ideas come when I'm in the middle of writing something else and don't have time for digressions (as opposed to most writing time when I am desperate to digress into anything more interesting than plastering words on the screen.)

At a con several years ago I joked that I got my story ideas from a guy in New Jersey who, for ten bucks a month, sent me a postcard filled with story ideas.  That got a laugh, but when more than one fan came up to me for his address and asked if he had a subscription service. I began to wonder if I couldn't start a business of thus relieving the legions of conceptually impaired of their money by offering just such a service.

It wouldn't take much.  Every day I have at least three ideas for a story but only the time and energy to write one or two a month.  That means I must discard eighty or ninety story ideas each month for one reason or another.  It would be no great labor to prepare such cards and mailing them would cost little extra.   In MBA terms the project would allow me to realize frangible economic gains from capitalizing on my excess productive capacity with little inventory dissolution.

Exciting as that possibility might be I blush at prostituting my writerly soul with such mundane concerns.  Besides, there can't be that many idiots out there who think they can actually buy story ideas, are there?

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