Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Watched Pot ...

It's funny to hear authors talk about getting ideas. Some people just hate this question, while others laugh at it. I think it's one of those taboo topics, mostly.

So, of course I'm talking about it, LOL.

I'm allowing myself one week to get back into the Big N, get reacquainted and my mind re-organized with it. I'm also doing a little research, which for me is SO much fun! In school, I was quickly bored by history, but then in college I had a good friend who was a historian. Once I clicked into what a creative art history is, I loved it.

And now researching spies and tradecraft and current events is a big love. I love the way politics and motivations intertwine like a big puzzle. I love the way allegiances and loyalties work for and against each other.

I find the idea that I'm writing about spies a tad preposterous (how do you get from music to erotica to ... spies?), but the subject just endlessly fascinates me. I can be so tired my eyes are closing and my brain is fuzzy at best, but put a dryly-written military, espionage, or history book in front of me, and my mind just snaps alive.

I could research for years.

I'm allowing myself only one week before I get back to writing, because I could get sucked into research for MONTHS. When my one publisher stopped buying and almost folded, I researched for SIX months.

I still feel like I know nothing.

Anyway, I was wandering around Borders, trying to come up with an idea that will solve a plot issue.

When I'm not trying to come up with ideas, they're a dime a dozen. I can't shut them up. I have more story ideas than I could write in a lifetime!

And then when I need an idea, they whisk away into hiding.


Where do you get your ideas? Okay, you don't have to answer. :-) I'd still be interested, if you do want to answer!

I guess my answer would be: I either laboriously and carefully make them up, or they spark off in my brain all the time. The sparks are more fun than the labor, that's for sure!

7 bonus scribbles:

Bernita 3/06/2007 04:39:00 PM  

Though they don't always cause a fire.

Karin Tabke 3/06/2007 06:57:00 PM  

i usually get a character in my head then go from there. sometimes an idea will preceed a character, but i like the character to come to me first.

spyscribbler 3/06/2007 11:04:00 PM  

You put things so well, Bernita. I swear, when I read writers like you who don't have a novel on the shelves it just astonishes me.

Interesting, Karin! You know, I haven't noticed what I do, actually. Sometimes I come up with the title first. I'm going to have to pay more attention!

Kate S 3/07/2007 12:48:00 AM  

Sparks and dreams, mainly. Lots of good characters from dreams, but sometimes just a word or a phrase will capture my attention and it all follows from there.

I read about people playing "what if" games with themselves and they come up with the most wonderful ideas. I've tried that, but it really doesn't work for me. :(

Bernita 3/07/2007 07:42:00 AM  

Nice of you, Girl. Thank you.

spyscribbler 3/07/2007 10:17:00 AM  

Kate, LOL, I hear you on the what-if games. When I ask myself what-ifs, I can rarely come up with the rest of the question.

Whys work for me. :-)

Not nice, Bernita. True. You're welcome!

The Dark Scribe 3/07/2007 11:00:00 AM  

My ideas tend to pop up at inopportune moments, like when I'm in a conversation with the boss. My eyes will glaze over as my mind explores the idea, and usually the boss has to snap his fingers in front of my face as though I've become suddenly catatonic. And when I want or need an idea? It's hard work to come up with one. Sort of like when you look directly at a star and it disappears, but when you let your eyes drift casually off to one side, there it is in the periphery, bright as ever.