The Steampunk Idea Treasure Map

To find an idea for a book you need a map.

When I was a kid (I was never a little kid) I went out into the desert to find treasure. There were lots of stories of lost gold mines and the treasure of De Anaza and I was going to find some. One minor rescue later I was back home without a treasure.

The point, if your looking for something you need to have an idea of what your looking for and you need to do some research for before you start looking. Real treasure hunter look in libraries. Often going to old archives to look for all the information on ship wrecks, robberies, and any information they can find on where treasure may be. They also look at what others have done. Why search places where others have combed over a dozen times.

You don’t go out into the middle of the ocean and drop a submersible and hope to find a sunken ship on the first dive. You start with an idea of where the ship could be then check with sonar.

I’ve come across a wandering writer out here in the middle of the desert.

PV; Mr. Wandering Writer what are you looking for?

WW; How’d you know I was a writer?

PV; You’re caring a laptop, six pencils and seven pens. But I think it was the thesaurus that tipped me off.

WW; Think you’re Sherlock Homes, huh. Why do you think I’m looking for something?

PV; You’re not writing.

WW; Mhum, You haven’t seen an idea around here have you?

PV; What type of idea are you are you looking for.

WW: I need an idea for a book.

PV; There’s several near by.

WW; What? Out here in the middle of nowhere. Quick tell me where.

PV; You’ll need to do some work.

WW; Tell me, I’m desperate.

PV; I’ll have to draw you a map. Now, what type of idea are you looking for?

WW; I told you I’m looking for an idea for a book.

PV; OK, but that’s a little vague. That’s like going out into the desert saying you’re looking for something valuable. There’re bunch of valuable things in the desert, but you got to know what you’re looking for. Have you considered what type of book you’re looking for an idea for?

WW: I’m looking for an idea for a science fiction book.

PV; Better, but there are a lot of science fiction books out there. Is this going to be a stand alone or a series.

WW: I’m going to write a science fiction trilogy.

PV; Great, now I know how big an idea you’re are looking for, but science fiction is a broad genre. What type of science fiction do you like reading, space opera, adventure, mystery, hard, fantasy, space war, or exploration science fiction? What do you like writing?

WW: Hey, hold on, when are you going to tell me how to find an idea for my book? I’m in a hurry.

PV; We’re well on the way. If you just start out brain storming for an idea all your worries about the next doctor’s appointment, your kids teacher parents meeting, the bills you need to pay, whatever will crowd out any energy you need for finding/generating ideas. You so far have narrowed it down to a book about science fiction that will go on to be a trilogy. Now, do you want to write about a space ship captain?

WW: No, I want to write about fairies.

PV; Do you like stories about fairies?

WW; No, but my friends like them and they’re hot sellers.

PV; If you don’t thrive reading them your writing will become a drudgery and the book will drag on and on or never get finished.

WW: Well I like Steampunk.

PV; Great, what type of heroine do you identify with.

WW: Huh?

PV; Do you see yourself as an inventor, a mad scientist, a world conquering genius, or her faithful side kick Igorita?

WW: Harry Potter with a wrench.

PV; Bad choice. Don’t pick an all powerful super being with no flaws to be your heroine. Rey in the star wars movie could do anything with no instructions, no help and she had no flaws. The fans were not impressed with the Disney light saber wielding princess. And no orphans. It’s been done to death.

WW; Then what?

PV; Do the opposite. Make the heroine the 10th daughter of a candle maker. She can burn it at both ends.

WW; You got a dirty mind.

PV; And you have been wandering around the desert for a week without a bath.

WW; Call it a tie, so where do I find this idea about the tenth daughter of a candle maker?

PV; Hold on. You got to have this heroine doing something. Is she on an airship?

WW; I’m afraid of heights.

PV; Is she on a train.

WW; No, one ran over my dog.

PV; How about an 1885 steam powered motor bike?

WW; No, my ex loved his bike more than me.

PV; How about something way out, like she’s on a steam powered wagon that has sails. A real prairie schooner.

WW; Wind surfing in Nebraska. I like it.

PV; OK, now we need a problem. Got to have a big problem. What if your heroine invented or her father invented the wind surfing wagon and she is trying to run a cargo delivery service with it. She has enemies, trains. The captains of the railroad are trying to put her out of business. Throw in the standard good looking bad guy henchman.

WW; Hold on there, that’s a stereotype.

PV; OK, make it a henchwoman.

WW; Get your mind out of the gutter. Now give me that map, I got a book due. Hey this is an outline.

PV; The last line says to get on Wikipedia and find out everything you can about land wind sailing. Then look up Annie Oakley.

WW; But.

PV; Do it or I’m writing a story using that idea.

Stay strong, write on.

Professor Hyram Voltage

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