So here we sit, on the precipice of me getting the writing jones again. Many things have lead up to this; taking better care of myself, getting my thoughts in order, a want to creat, all that fancy stuff. Starting Friday Fondue last week was the first step on this continuing journey and I’m glad I did it. The feedback’s been good and it felt good to…create. It really did.
With such an adventure comes a need for ideas, and sometimes that can be hard. There’s either too many ideas to zero in on, not enough to make something meaty out of; the old brain pan can really be a mess sometimes. As I start off on this adventure again, especially while concentrating on some short fiction for while, I’ve found myself going back once again to the thoughts of one of the grand masters of science fiction; Ray Bradbury. He wrote the book that you see above some time ago, a collection of essays on the art of writing itself. I haven’t read it cover to cover yet, but I do find myself dipping in from time to time when I need motivation and inspiration. He’s a pretty outstanding man when it comes to the art of telling stories.
One of the biggest ideas that I’m drawing from as of late come from Bradbury’s discussions in “Zen in the Art of Writing”, his telling of how he used to get his own story ideas when he started out. This isn’t exact mind you, but throughout any given day, he would see any number of things that might give him the spark of an idea. This could be a random idea, an item, a person or anything that caught his attention. He would then write the things down in a list that he carried with him throughout his career. When he needed a new story, he pulled out his list and read through to see what grabbed his attention once again and of he’d set to scribble out a new tale.
I found this idea pretty amazing. I myself find a lot of little things that give a faint spark. These sparks are never a full fledged plot with outlines or even an ending. Many times, it’s simply a scene that comes to mind. Two years ago or so, back when I first read the essay in which Bradbury discusses his list, I was so won over by the idea that I started my own list. It’s short in comparison of course; but I’m just starting out.
So here I am some time later, looking for inspiration for some flash fiction, short stories and the like. I dug out that list this weekend and gave it a once over and I found myself pretty happy and excited. The process worked! I found a number of random thoughts that made me smile and give life to a brief scene at the very least. That’s all it takes, too. Just a scene, a scant idea that can be built upon and a story starts to take shape. So here in the future, maybe you’ll see stories about things like ‘my third eye’, or “my old cat”. Maybe you’ll see a story about a young child lost and the fear that comes with them, or maybe even a story about that sneaking fealing on the back of your neck when you shut off the lights in the living room before bed, that feeling that there’s something there in the corner watching over you, hot on your heels as you make your way to the bedroom. I’ve quite a few of them, i’m kind of excited to share!
For this week, I actually got started early on a new story and though I haven’t gotten far; I’m liking it. I like to feel the gears turning, I like the idea of developing characters and sending them through their paces. This time around, I’m playing with an old old character a friend of mine stuck in my head nearly 15 years ago. Curious about a young teenaged super heroine, faced with the stresses of adolescence, peer pressure and the responsibilities of super powers all weigh on top of her? I may introduce you to her this week.