Saturday, March 27, 2010

Just write it down

I had an idea for a picture book this morning while putting on my sock. Actually I was checking my email on my IPOD while putting on my sock, but something I saw there gave me a story idea. I shoved the IPOD in my pocket, ran for a pad of paper with one shoe on, and started scribbling my thoughts down before they turned to breakfast. Oatmeal can ruin any idea.

Halfway through my frantic scratching there was a knock on the door. Someone wanted to trim my shrubs. But rather than interrupt my thoughts, and say that I don't want my shrubs trimmed no matter what they look like, I dashed into the basement with my pad and pen and finished writing while sitting next to the washer and dryer. (My shrubs really need trimming).

Once I had my idea down on paper it was safe to eat. I now had time to get out the laptop and commit my masterpiece to digital form.

This of course leads to today's question.

What do you do when you have an idea for a story?

Do you write it down immediately while it's still fresh like that beer you just opened? Flat beer is the curse of modern civilization.

Do you let it simmer in your brain, maturing like a fine wine?

Can you stand having it in your head and not getting it written down?

And what are you doing when you get your ideas?

Mine seem to come to me at almost any time. I get them while showering, pulling cans of refried beans off the shelf at the grocery store, mowing the lawn, or fixing the plumbing. Although the ideas that come to me while fixing the plumbing are usually not printable, especially in the children's market.

Just wondering. But if you're a writer, you've got lots of ideas, and a burning need to get them written down and read by other people.

2 comments:

*-- D. L. K i n g --* said...

This is why Dennis has dry erase markers in his car and writes ideas on the windows.

maya lessov said...

Hi, John. Thanks for having this blog.
I am part of the inland Northwest SCBWI group and, because I couldn't come to your workshop today, I thought I would look you up online.
I get ideas for children's books in all the same kinds of situations you describe. I do love to jot them down, but I can also hold them for some time. On essay-like topics, I can simmer them in my mind. Usually, the trick it to at least write down the *idea*, like a pointer to that part of your brain that holds the glut of the story. Then, even if you've forgotten how it goes, the topic sentence will take you there. Although sometimes I do go: what? "summertime laugh lemonade" ? I got nothing. Thanks again for writing here. I will connect to follow you.

maya lessov

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