Tag Archives: ideas

Another visit to the Idea Mill

These are usually quick posts, but they are also well received. I owe you guys one after last night. It’s 5:00 AM and I’m waiting to go to work.

The first article is about archaeologists who may have found the remains of a legendary creature. This is one of those cryptozoology stories that may have a basis in fact. I think it’s fertile ground for a story, or a Scoobie Doo episode. Read The Hell Hound of Suffolk.

The next one isn’t so much story fodder for me. I’ve already written about my enchanted drinking horns. Some of you might like this story to add a bit of background to your medieval stories. Drinking Horns. If nothing else they are pretty.

This bit of inspiration comes from a music video. I get ideas from all kinds of places, and I’ll bet you too. I kind of want to write a story about this, but Lorelei* hasn’t inspired me beyond that. Last of the American Girls.

* Lorelei is my Muse.

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A Return to the Idea Mill

I had a great time having D. S. Nelson read my tea leaves. There’s still time to check out my reading and make comments here.

I also owe you guys my own post today. Regular readers know me as a writer of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy stories. I’ve also blogged about getting ideas from Zite magazine and things I subscribe to in my RSS reader. There’s been some interesting news lately and I decided to share it with you guys.

This is an Idaho headline. Strange black blobs have formed along the Snake River. No one seems to know what they are, but they appear benign. Read the news blurb here: strange blobs.

I can absolutely think of several science fiction stories and maybe even a fantasy based around this. For some reason, Creedence playing It Fell Out of the Sky is running through my head. What about you guys?

In this story, an artist used genetic material from a Van Gogh ancestor along with a laser printer. He created a replica of the artist’s severed ear that people can talk into. He says they can keep the ear alive for several years. Read the blurb here: Genetic ear.

My mind works differently, and I was taken back to The Boys From Brazil. This was a great Gregory Peck movie many years ago regarding the cloning of Adolph Hitler. As a writer, why not Genghis Kahn, Napoleon, or Torquemada.

This one is one of those list type articles that I call mad science. There are eleven technological “advancements” noted. Here’s the link: Super Powers.

Not all of them jump out at me, but I can see a stalker/rapist type with high tech invisibility clothing. I can also see computers that lead to the fall of man by cataloging all of human learning and thought. People no longer have to think for themselves, evolution takes us another direction, the power fails…

And finally, it wasn’t uncommon to cover books with human skin at one time. Harvard University confirmed they have one such book. Someone just helped them self to the skin of a mental patient who passed away. I remember hearing of a pair of shoes made from a Wild West criminal at one point. Read the book article here: Book.

So what if the unfortunate skin donor was really cursed or possessed? I can see a paranormal story where the book is some kind of religious or political artifact, but no one knows the curse is still there. Some centennial event is marked by a politician or Pope reading to the masses from the original book. Where could you go with that one? (Kind of makes me want to see Army of Darkness again.)

I’m sure there are more things out there. I like to post these on occasion, not as writing prompts per say, but to illustrate how I get my ideas. Where do you guys get ideas to write about? If one of these articles inspires you tell us all about it.

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Wow, just Wow!

I’ve mentioned, on occasion, how I find little things that get my creative mind working. This one is about a completely new human organ, being developed in a lab. They call it a mini heart, they think they can use it to improve veinous circulation.

My science fiction and paranormal circuits are firing on all cylinders. Check the article out for yourselves: Mini Hearts

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She’s at it again…

Lorelei* was in the parking lot after work tonight. I unlocked the door and let her in the truck.

It was a junior blizzard on the commute. We never spoke for the first ten miles. In fact she spent most of the time texting someone else. A Muse doesn’t need to do anything special to inspire. It just, kind of emanates from her.

Characters formed in my head, one Victorian era, one from the netherworld. There was a group of futuristic kids with a big problem, and another group from a dystopian society.

They talked, but most of them didn’t hit it off. The Victorian woman got along well with the person from the netherworld. I wondered if she might fit into a futuristic society.

The kids had an awesome problem, but I don’t know where it might lead. One of the dystopian girls had a ton of conspiracy theories, but it felt like author intrusion.

I had to pull over for an emergency vehicle, and asked, “Why are you doing this? I still have to solve Patty’s problems.”

She said, “This is how it works. The little bits in your head are meeting each other, maybe a story will form.”

“Why now?” I asked.

“Because you’re going to need a future project. There’s no rush, maybe none of them will work”

“Are you saying maybe one of these could be my next main character?”

She leaned against my shoulder, “Maybe, play around with them and see what develops. Let them make friends and enemies. Make them try it both ways.”

“Seems a little soon to me, but I’ll try,” I said.

“Have I ever let you down?”

“No.”

“Cool.” She pecked me on the cheek and said, “Drop me at Bardenay. I’m meeting someone for wine tonight. See you soon.”

* Lorelei is my Muse.

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A Bunch of Writerly Stuff

The radio played “Lorelei” this morning on my commute. I glanced at the passenger seat, but no Muse in sight. I smiled and checked the rear view mirror. She always makes these blog updates easier, but this time it was actually the radio.

I’m new to all this linking stuff, here goes nothing…

I blogged previously about sources for story ideas. Zite magazine had some interesting stuff this morning. There was a great article about Motorola patenting some kind of neck tattoo that would connect via Bluetooth with phones and other devices. When they mentioned that it could also be used as a lie detector, my head started spinning. Take this article, add a cup of NSA snooping, plus a tablespoon of new legislation and this could make one heck of a story. You can read it yourself here Article.

This one really intrigued me. It’s a story about a pauper’s cemetery on an island in New York. I think I might use this myself someday, but I’ll share anyway. Ideas aren’t usually a problem for me. The earliest graves were Confederate prisoners. It’s become the final resting ground for paupers, unidentified bodies, and other tragic people. The intrigue begins when it’s operated by the prison system. The public is not allowed, and there are no headstones. Oh, and it was once the site of an asylum. Read it here Hart Island

Grains of story form in my mind all the time. I have a character that’s partly formed. Add the Hart Island story to my character, and she fleshes out a bit. Hart Island becomes something more sinister. The prisoners and the guards become something else too. “Poof” – story.

I get wisps of stories from music videos, books, movies, art, photos, everything. They move around in my mind like atoms until they crash into each other and form molecules. Aaaand, you get the drift. Then I make notes in the iPad app for future reference.

In other news, I’m going to an editing seminar tomorrow. I’ll learn something, no doubt.

I’m also going to send a letter to see if I can get permission to use some song lyrics in my next tale. I’ve dealt with plenty of big corporations and have no illusions of success. Still, nothing ventured and all that. Maybe Lorelei can teach me how to write around the lyrics and still get the point across.

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Idea’s and where to find them.

The blog is new and shiny right now. I intend to post about twice per month, like payday. I don’t want to blow up anyone’s mailbox, but I want to have a few posts to get the conversations going.

They say a good writer has to read as much as he writes. I agree with this, and I’m a failure at it. I’d rather write than read, for now. I manage to get by with articles and comics. This isn’t the same, but it’s better than nothing.

I don’t want to talk about big concepts, just little seeds. If you water them, they will grow. My sources are mainly my RSS reader, and Zite Magazine. Google and others are just too time consuming.

I get all kinds of stuff in my RSS feed. There are food foragers, archaeology posts, comics, and many other things. I also get posts from other writers. Don’t be afraid to subscribe to feeds that interest you. If an article or two aren’t your cup of tea, you have permission to move to the next one.

Zite Magazine is a cool app. It works like Pandora radio in that it learns what you like. You choose topics that interest you, they send articles to your magazine. When you go through your posts, you can give a thumbs up, or down, and the magazine gets smarter.

Many ideas will never go on the page. Few will become stories on their own. These feeds are great for the little things that help you stay true to your genre. Maybe your science fiction needs a gadget. It’s nice to know what cutting edge science is doing. I wrote a couple of steampunk stories years ago, and needed gadgets. It worked great.

Items in the news recently include excavation of supposed vampire graves in Europe, Comet Ison, and giant killer hornets from China. I may never use these, but they bring a lot to the table.

There are people excavating ancient breweries. They scrape the crocks for yeast samples and plant material. Today someone is making beer, mead, whatever, from those ancient “recipes” using the same yeast. If you were writing a paranormal piece, the unintended side effects could make a whole novel. They were culturing the yeast, what did they get by accident…

Writers never really struggle for ideas. We usually have too many ideas. These tools are great for giving a story some extra oomph. I wrote a story once that just needed a special something. I read about new electronic circuits that are so thin they dissolve in water. Real scientists hope to use them in surgical situations someday. In my story, an arsonist used them, and the fire crew washed the evidence away. This one will go up on Amazon eventually.

What sources do you use? I’d love to see some suggestions in the comments.

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