I have to be honest. I have more ideas than I have years left in my life, even if I live to be 100. The reason is because I have a file called “Writing Ideas” and I keep throwing notes in it. This is not because I’m so brilliant and proactive. It’s because I’m anxious and uptight: what if my books take off and everybody wants more? (I should be so lucky, right?)
Some mornings, I’ll be reading the paper or my email (I get tons of blog posts and newsletters on topics that interest me). Both of these are good for ideas. In fact, my addiction to advice columns has proven to be a goldmine. I’ll read about a person with a problem, and you just know the person will have to change to survive – but do they? We never get the follow-up report. So I make it up, creating a world for that character, full of further complications and solutions. Advice columns are also good for finding secondary characters.
When I land on a character or situation, I’ll cut out the article or make a note and throw it in the “Writing Ideas” folder. My folder is fat with little notes. It stands ready to provide inspiration and solutions when needed.
I think you have to do this ahead of time if you want to have a writing career. Watch what grabs your attention repeatedly. Are you curious about bank robbers, people who live off the grid, poor people, rich people, serial adulterers, famous sports figures with secret lives, crooked politicians, polygamists, homeless people who win the lottery, or CEOs who lost their jobs in the Great Recession and become poor?
I find people over fifty the most fascinating, especially when they’re smug about life and BAM have to change, start over, and maybe learn and implement new survival skills. I might do a bit of just-for-fun research on it, and that becomes part of my file, too.
But nothing’s ever going to happen if I don’t apply the BIC* protocol. So gotta run! (This post was shared by Lynne Spreen.)
*Butt in Chair