How do your ideas come about? That was the simple and complex question Carol asked one day on Throwing Up Words. What is YOUR answer?
YES! I DID IT! I thought about where my ideas have come from as I’ve written various pieces. One time I was thinking how awful it is that sometimes we just sort of freeze and can’t act. From that came my idea for StoonSaga about a community turning, one by one, to “Stoon” ‑‑‑ an archaic word for “stone.” Another time, someone in a class suggested coming up with three disparate images, then melding them together (I wrote about doing that in an earlier, fairly recent blog) — one of the strongest essays I’ve ever written: heartfelt, and real.
Once I heard three students at SLCC, walking ahead of me down some stairs, and complaining about some teacher. One of the girls said, “Well, I think she’s just Add Junk anyway!” I was also “Add Junk” at the time, which means ALL the same qualifications any prof. is required to have, but you’re only “part time” ‑‑‑ and paid at a MUCH lower rate. I couldn’t stop myself. As I passed the girls, I said “That’s ADJUNCT ! ! !” Then I laughed all the way to my car. But it made me angry. And THAT turned into an article. I wrote about how colleges are helped by hiring many part‑timers and what they add of worth to the institution. And THAT turned into a presentation and a workshop for teachers the “two‑year” colleges Colloqium in Utah, and later a follow‑up article which was printed in the two‑year college semi‑annual magazine, FOCUS.
One year I was thinking about the coming Christmas Holiday . . . but I THINK “fantasy”, so all of a sudden I had a dragon, the Christ Child, gifts, the Wise Men and angels running through my head. I wrote a short story which had me dissolving in tears before the end. I’ve used it as a program for the state League of Utah Writers, and a number of school programs as well.
I read a poem once by a famous writer, known more for his fiction than for poetry. It encapsulated what I felt about — knew about — from fairy tales as a kid. Now I’m writing a fairy tale it should have, could have, been about.
So. Pay Attention! What’s bothering you? Making you anxious? What beautiful image is in your head, and what does it mean? All of these and SO many more are grist for the mill!.
Listen. Really SEE when you watch. Interpret what you’ve seen. And write about it in YOUR genre!
(Feel free to re‑use my prompts, modified to YOUR specifications ‑‑‑ I “stole” them too from Carol Lynch Williams, AnnDeeCanDee, Cheryl, The ABC Writers Guild and others . . . )