Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Source of the Nile

A much younger me daydreamed dramas endlessly, usually with myself as the principal actor and occasional hero, these usually spurred by a recent story.  But as I grew older such hyperactive self-aggrandizing seemed less interesting and, when I finally started writing, embarrassing.  I began looking for ideas that had deeper resonance, of issues that needed to be illustrated, and of things, people, situations that I thought had a bit of humor.

My first attempts were pathetic; sophomoric philosophizing or filled with the social concerns of the day.  Later I tried reprising some favorite tales or picking up an idea here, hearing something at a con, or just reading an interesting article. Each of these can be the seed that will blossom into narrative flowers.

  •  For example, the first Sam Boone story arose from a comment Stan Schmidt made at a convention and that led to four more sales featuring that character. 
  •  A David Nordley science article spun off a novelette and two novellas, one of which was a Nebula finalist. 
  •  A summer week's attendance at LunchPad in Wyoming produced three short stories. 

 Before I became an older me, I maintained a long list of story ideas.  I abandoned the list after a year or two when it grew too long and unwieldy, because most were never worth being fertilized to full flower.  Ideas are cheap and plentiful, you need only to open your eyes and mind.

An older me now recognizes that if a story idea is worth pursuing it will not go away.  Once it finds fertile ground in your mind it will establish itself forever, even though it may be momentarily forgotten.  Time and again this pesky weed will force itself into your consciousness, harrying you until you finally have no choice but to sit down and pound it into submission.

Or maybe that's just me.


1 comment:

  1. It's not just you, Bud. I've kept a list of story ideas for quite awhile, but I've started deleting the ones that have just been sitting there for years. You're absolutely right, the good ones stick in your mind and won't go away.

    So my story idea list now is mostly quotations I've come across that might make good titles and other odds and ends that I actually end up using every once in awhile.


Thanks for reading my blog!