24 April 2013

Getting Fresh

The topic for this month was where we get 'fresh ideas'. Seems to me that everyone's taken a look at where they get their ideas.

I got thinking about what makes them fresh.

And the answer to that is so easy and so complicated that people really struggle with it.

To me, a 'fresh' idea has to have a hint of the familiar to it. It's a way of looking at something we've ALL SEEN BEFORE.

Romeo and Juliet -- with zombies.
Titanic -- in space.
Sleeping Beauty -- the cyborg.

Each of those twists allows us to tell a familiar story in a new way.

But that's just the beginning.

Because each of us here could be given one of those story ideas as a prompt, and we'd each write the story very differently, because we each bring our own stuff to the table. I'm always absorbed with themes of right and wrong, lies and truth, bravery and cowardice (for example) while another author might be more focused on themes around family and trust, for example.

Ideas are great. They get me motivated, get me excited about a project. But often, the fresh twist that brought me the story -- is the thing that gets lost along the way. "Sleeping Beauty the cyborg" sounds great, but as I brainstorm, I might discover that the story REALLY works if I make her a zombie, instead. Or if I don't use the Sleeping Beauty myth at all.

It's hard to allow myself to let The Idea go sometimes. Because really, Sleeping Beauty, the cyborg (or even zombie!) sounds pretty freaking cool. But sometimes, that's what the story needs so that I can frame the story I REALLY want to tell --which isn't Sleeping Beauty the cyborg, but how absolute power corrupts, or how right can be done for the wrong reasons or whatever my own truth is that I really want to explore.

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