Monday, May 4, 2009

Thoughts On Writing


Methods Employed to Recall Terrific or Not-So-Terrific Story Ideas

Inspiration for stories may hit morning, noon, night or day. What bothers me most is when I don’t jot these lightening bolt ideas down right away, and what could have been stellar subject matter flies right out of my forgetful mind. Drat and double drat! I have a file on my desktop here on my Mac aptly named Titles & Ideas. I keep a notepad and pen on my night stand, just in case I wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, in hopes that I will shake off the sleepiness and then hurriedly record my inspiration. But, I don’t usually manage to produce anything understandable coming out of a deep slumber.

When I go back and read the sketchy details saved, I often find myself wondering just why I thought the idea was worthy of being recording in the first place. For instance, I found a note in my purse, a little something that I scrawled on the back of a grocery receipt one day: the title, Zing. Zing? What was I thinking when I took the time to scribble those four letters frantically, and then nothing more? I just couldn’t recall what had inspired me to stop and write that word, so I crumpled the miserable remnant up and tossed it in the trash.

Another dud: Small Minded, an exploration into the lopsided relationship between a wallflower and her married-super-shallow-excessively-demanding-good-looking boss. Huh? Neither the lackluster title, nor the description motivated me to begin typing. Not one little bitty bit, so I hit erase.

And what about this one? Riding Along, the story of a woman compelled to travel from city to city, so she might continually go on “ride alongs” with cops. What? Too farfetched, so I almost hit erase, but paused and thought better of it. Wasn’t Fight Club farfetched? I didn’t erase Riding Along after all. I gave the idea a stay of execution; just in case I felt differently when next I returned.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

19 comments:

lakeviewer said...

Oh yes, the darn bits and crumbs we leave behind to capture the moment. Fortunately, there are a lot of these. So, some escape is not so bad. The mind is cleaning house too.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I'm always jotting things down on paper or my Dell notebook...when you've got writing on the mind, you are composing constantly...I can so relate to this post!!

Kirti said...

I keep a tiny notebook (like moleskine) in my purse. It is amazing what pops in my head while I'm driving...I sometimes have to pull over to jot it down...

Lover of Life said...

I have notebooks going as well. I think my best writing would be a semi-autobio. But I'm just not sure I want to share my story. As for other ideas - they seem relegated to blog posts so far. But you never know where inspiration will come from, right?

Cloudia said...

"Riding along" has some allure....
All in all a useful post; thanks & Aloha

Elizabeth Bradley said...

As I was reading over Riding Along, I actually got to thinking...this could work. lol.

David Quiles said...

I have a file on my PC titled story ideas. Most times I go back and wonder what I was thinking. But there are occasions when I go back and look at those crazy ideas and a light switch comes on. I've written a couple of shorts that way. Don't throw away anything. :)

lakeviewer said...

I just caught POD award. Congratulations. That means, of course, that you will keep on giving us these gems all the time.

Jacob said...

Well, Elizabeth, I'm glad you jumped over to Ocala DP! Thanks for your commment...you should be able to make up a story on two yellow trucks roaring down the freeway...

I mean, why yellow? Where have they been - ah, the one being hauled was in a drug bust. The driver of the hauler is a narc and he's bringing the truck to Miami for a forensic workover...

Etc.

Love you writing...I shall return.

Best wishes!

Linda Pendleton said...

I like those ideas in the middle of the night, or upon wakening from a dream, and you tell yourself, "Oh, yes, I can remember that." Three hours later you can't recall what it was. I also love those ideas that come to mind in the middle of a shower. Hey, where's my towel, my note pad, my computer!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Thanks Jacob. And Linda, I've been there, what is it about the shower anyway? Warm water must spark creativity.

Deb said...

I find it fascinating how most writers work... For me, writing has to come "at the time" of sitting at my desk. I'm weird that way. But I also risk writer's block most of the time. I also write music, however, oddly enough, I find myself dreaming up chords and notes on my guitar and composing my music in my dreams. I then have to write that down or I'll forget.

Thought this was very interesting! :)

Shadow said...

hiya! nice tidbits of ideas here. and thank you for visiting!

Deborah Godin said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, and leaving your link back here. You have a cool blog, and it's nice to meet a fellow writer about the boomer era. (I have a second volume on music and pop culture coming out later this year.) Will definitely watch for your book! I know the world of self-penned cryptic notes too, it's maddening sometimes!

Lauren said...

Riding Along sounds really good. I think you might have something there!

And I know what you mean about ideas that seem great at the time but don't end up panning out as great as initially dreamt :).

Elizabeth Bradley said...

It all starts with an idea. But that idea has to be strong enough to propel a writer forward. The more staggering the better. That's what I aim for.

Jientje said...

I wish you could teach me how to write a good story. I'm much more a photographer than a writer!! Congrats on the POD post David did on you. Much deserved!!

GutsyWriter said...

I can relate to that. I find myself thinking of blog post subjects, way too often in the middle of the night, instead of thinking of my next memoir chapter revision.

Cheryl said...

I so know what you mean. Writing and painting ideas are always running through my head, especially as I'm about to fall asleep. The best ones, I hope, stay with me long enough for me to do something with it.