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Where do you get your ideas?

Happy fall!

To hear other writers on the topic, it’s easy to conclude that the single, most despised question an author can be asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Personally, I don’t know what the problem is. Either you can try a sincere answer, or, failing that, you can always shrug, mumble some rubbish about muses, or straight up mock the questioner by saying something like, “New Jersey.”

Me, I prefer the sincere approach. For specific works, there’s usually a specific inspiration, like a bit of a song lyric heard while driving to my day job at 5:30 in the morning, something I’ve heard a million times, but never really thought about until, one morning, I find myself mulling. That’s what a lot of inspiration comes down to in my case: mulling. I start taking an idea apart, looking at it from different angles, trying to unpack the clichés before inverting them to come up with something new. I do a lot of “what-iffing” while I’m mulling, like “What if…” people suddenly started growing wings? Or “What if…” vampires became the majority?

Or sometimes I just get mad at something I’ve seen or read. Anger is an excellent source of inspiration, particularly if it’s over a story you think was done wrong. “Well, that was just stupid,” I find myself thinking on a fairly regular basis. “What they should’ve done was…” and there I am, another story idea in the making.

So, how about you? Everybody has ideas, even if they don’t lead to stories. Where do you get your ideas? Is there anything you do, to increase the likelihood that inspiration will strike?
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To blog or not to blog...

Author glimpsed emerging from the shell of his former self

Hello and welcome to my first-ever blog post! Woo-hoo!

Now what?

I’ve never blogged before and have resisted it for much the same reason I’ve never been able to keep a diary – I’m not all that interesting to myself. Or really, because I’m lazy. The only daily writing routine I’ve ever been even modestly successful at has been when I’m in the midst of a novel and it’s going well. Those are the days when I can’t wait to get up and start writing. Those are the days – in fact – that I am awakened by the need to write. I’ll find myself bolt upright in bed, fumbling for my glasses, stumbling into my kitchen, turning on my word processor so I can jot down the brilliant solution to some novelistic corner I’ve backed myself into.

Those kinds of writing days are delirious, and marked by a sort of dominoes of ideas. I’ll jot one down, save, then go back to my morning routine only to stop and rush back, another juicy idea having popped into my head. If you’ve never jumped out of a shower to run still naked to your computer because something you’ve just thought MUST BE PRESERVED, well, then you’re probably a mentally stable and healthy individual, but you’ll never know the maddening joy that comes with being a writer.

Of course, most writing days aren’t like that. Most writing days are a long, tooth-pulling slog toward mediocrity. And when those writing days lack the forward momentum of a long narrative arc – when those writing days begin with another brand new project which you’ve yet to formulate – those are the kinds of writing days that make you wish you’d taken up carpentry.

So yeah. Blogging. I’m a little scared, but what the hell. It’s not like anything you put on the Internet hangs around forever. Oh, wait…

: )

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