The Great Idea Box In The Sky

One question that writers get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

I don’t know how other people answer that question, but my answer is “I really have no idea.”

And I don’t.

It’s just the way my mind works.  I look at things differently – I think most writers do.

I’m pretty sure that my first inkling of the different way that writers’ minds worked came from Philip K. Dick.  For instance, he said, normal people see crabgrass in their lawn and take steps to remove it because it’s an unsightly annoyance.  But a writer sees crabgrass in their lawn and sees an alien invasion intent on conquering Earth.

But what is it that makes that connection, that leap from crabgrass to alien invasion?  That is what I can’t explain.

I’m not sure anyone can.

Sometimes I can trace the evolution of an idea.

For instance, the characters in Song and Sword came from characters that created in a MUDD called Materia Magica.  At one point while playing the game I thought it would be fun if some of my “alts” met so I made it happen.

And Sanguine came from pondering the tradition of vampires not being able to tolerate sunlight, so what would happen if one was on a spaceship with no sunlight and only artificial day/night cycles.  From there it was just a matter of creating characters and letting them interact in my head until back stories were produced and a plot was formed.

But then there are things like Tales of the Onyx Sun, the book I’m currently editing (and posting snippets of on Sundays).  I know where the idea started, but how I got from buying a used car from a broker to being on the run from both law enforcement and organized crime with a spaceship with a hidden cargo remains a mystery even to me.

Most of the time, though, I have no clue where the idea even originated.

For instance, my current (main) writing project, The Academy of the Accord series, started out as a stand alone novel about two characters on a journey and was all set to explore themes of prejudice and not belonging.  But then a flashback happened and got out of control and before I knew it the original story was more or less lost, replaced by a whole lot more stories that explore those and similar themes.

But I have no idea what prompted the original story.

And my “Novels I’m Ignoring” file (yes, that’s its actual name) is full of other things that I have no clue where they came from.

Apparently, there really is a “Great Idea Box In The Sky.”




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