Finding ideas, be open to them

I have worked with many authors, screenwriters and as an engineer with technical professionals in trying to find ideas.

The biggest problem I found working with these people was that they would reject out of hand idea after idea. Ideas that I took and later wrote stories using them. (Never let a good idea get away. They may be free but they can be the most valuable thing in existence.)

Why did the author blow off, what were to me, good ideas (and they often were generated by other people)? Did the author have a hidden or subconscious list or set of requirements of what the idea must be. Did the author expect that the right idea to come fully formed, ready to write a whole book about, with the muse tagging along to urge the writer along.

It ain’t going to happen. It takes more than one idea to make a book, many more. You may write a book without the muse ever showing up.

  1. Remember it’s your book, not the muse’s.

2. Remember, no fantastic idea ever survives the first draft. Ideas mutate. Good ideas mutate like the Hulk. They also turn green and go bad. Think Swamp thing.

If you’re looking for an idea get your preconceptions on the table. Make a list of them. If you’re writing a book about X then make a list about X, what it should be, its size, shape, weight, personality, attitude. If you’re looking for an idea, know what your looking for. “I need an idea for a character” is too broad. “I need an idea for an adventurous, female, addicted to chocolate, with relationship issues” is headed in the right direction.

I’ve been in meeting with people that had an agenda they were pushing and kept pushing ideas that seemingly had nothing to do with the problem we were brainstorming. He wanted to redesign the power supply but the meeting was about poor radar range. Never did figure out if there was a part that he couldn’t get for the power supply and there was a production problem or did he just want to hire another engineer so he could get a pay raise and a better parking spot. He couldn’t convince us that a better power supply would give us more radar range.

If your after ideas collect them. The ideas may not seem to be good at the time but later they may click together and be the answer. If you collect ideas go back over the collection later. Ideas on a list don’t do you any good if you never look at the list.

Open up. A closed mind or a mind with too many restrictions will never find new ideas.

Lay your requirement (cards) on the table. Don’t keep hidden agendas.

Listen to everyone. Take notes and go over the notes later. Mash things up.

3. Remember, out of the mouths of babes and engineers comes the wisdom of the ages.

Stay strong, write on.            Professor Hyram Voltage

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