One of the questions often asked of writers is “where do you get your ideas”. I’m never asked that question, and hence my worry that I’m not really a writer.
Also, that’s a trick question of sorts . . . we all get our ideas from the same place: our brains. Yes, that’s the snarky answer, but only because the question is not properly phrased. It should be “how do you come up with your ideas for stories”, emphasis on the “how”.
I contend we’re all natural-born storytellers and if you don’t believe me, just listen to yourself next time your significant others asks why you did or didn’t do something, or the next time your boss asks you why something is late or not working or both, and especially if you get audited by the IRS.
Consciously or unconsciously, people construct stories all the time, usually geared toward either getting oneself out of trouble or minimizing the consequences of said trouble. Now, just envision a situation where your character is in trouble, and go to town with your natural-born talent. Oh, and write it down; that’s the important bit.
That said, there are three ways my stories get crafted.
The first is by way of a vision. I don’t mean some Holy Smoke coming down and messing with my brain. No, it’s my own brain taking the aggregate of everything I’ve read, seen, or heard about in my life and envisioning a scene much like one would see in a movie. Usually, an awesome and interesting scene.
So, for instance, not something like this:
Evelyn started to open the drawer but Bill intervened.
“No!” he yelled, his hand stopping hers . “It’s too dangerous; I’ll do it.”
Bill gently moved her aside and then opened the drawer. There it sat, all innocent-like. Bill picked it up and attached it to the tuna can on the counter. After making sure it was secure, he turned the butterfly handle and a few minutes later, the can lay open, its content scenting the surrounding area. Albacore tuna made the best tuna salad.
He returned the can opener to the drawer, gave Evelyn a brief nod, and went back to cutting out paper snowflakes. Bill missed Evelyn’s comment.
“Idiot!” she said.
Sure, there is drama, tension, resolution, but it’s not exactly a vision of awesomeness.
This, on the other hand, is a little better (or, at least, I think so):
At the height of the battle, Valora stopped, letting her arms fall to her sides after
planting embedding her sword into the granite boulder at her feet. The surrounding enemies Her adversaries did not rush in, instead, pulling back. The scene was replayed repeated with each of the other four paladins.
From atop the cliff, the old wizard watched the now silent battlefield below, watched the five circles of empty space forming around his pupils, watched as each began walking toward the setting sun, a path opening in the enemy ranks ahead of them and closing behind them as they passed.
He could see the five swords
standing upright embedded in the ground and he saw continues watching as the paladins drop their scabbards, their fighting tunics, and last, their personal sigils, ripping them from the chains around their necks and letting them fall to the ground.
Each discarded item
also stood at the center of their own empty spaces as no enemy soldiers dared go near them.
The old wizard knew each item would remain there for many years, untouched, and knew that, for now, magic had left this world. He turned, and began his long journey in the opposite direction.
Edited to add: after I published it, I re-read it and made a few changes (marked)
This is a scene I’ve had in my mind for a number of days now. A scene of capable fighters all of a sudden stopping and walking off the battlefield, unhindered. A scene demanding an idea be attached to it, a story be told. I have a vague notion but don’t have anything worked out yet.
Rather, I had nothing worked out, but the mere act of writing the above words opened up a path for me, and I can see the first wisps of a story.
That’s the second way my stories come to be . . . I start writing something, my brain takes over, and out comes a story.
The majority of my stories are a combination of those two processes, the vision and the act of writing, sometimes the vision coming first, sometimes the vision coming after I start writing. Most often, the two are indistinguishable, and it matters not which comes first.
The third way I write stories is in response to prompts. Sure, right after the prompt I get into the vision/writing processes I mention above, but I separate this as different because it’s not my idea. I mean, it’s my idea, but it’s triggered by an outside agency.
Someone says “write a story with a dragon”, and I write this:
Luna resisted the impulse to transform and rip her boss to shreds. She did, however, bask in the warmth of imagining frying him to a crisp. She forced herself to dispell the mental image. The Hunters had spies everywhere and had intensified the search after they found the two muggers she had dispatched a few weeks ago. They knew a dragon was about, and she could not risk getting dragged into a confrontation. Her mission was to find and rescue her mother.
Seda had disappeared from their remote farm, and everything pointed to her being here, in what remained of the city of Salem. Why Seda had not fought back was a mystery. There was not much more powerful than Seda, except, perhaps, Luna herself.
Her boss finally stopped talking, and she once more apologized for her tardiness. Satisfied with the reaffirmation of his status and power over his underlings, he turned and left Luna to continue to her desk.
“Don’t let him get to you.”
Pete’s words had her jump as she had not heard him approach. It wasn’t the first time she’d failed to sense him and was still bothered by the fact. She could sense people around her even when she could not see them, but not Pete.
“I won’t,” she answered as she smiled.
She turned to avoid a protracted conversation. She had no need for socialization. Pete, however, was insistent.
“Would you like to grab a bite after work?” he asked as he followed her to her cubicle.
“Uh, I don’t eat out much,” she answered hoping that would put an end to it.
“How about take-out?” he asked. “We can eat in the little park down the street.”
Luna hesitated. She didn’t have the social skills to handle his insistence, so she finally nodded. “Alright,” she said.
“Great! I’ll pick up some Italian,” Pete said without waiting for an answer as he headed off.
Working a menial job at the local paper allowed a certain amount of freedom, and the rest of Luna’s day was spent searching the classified and missing persons reports for any possible leads. Luckily, her workload was light as few people called the obituary and missing persons department.
After work, she met Pete at the entrance. He was carrying a large paper bag and a couple of plastic water bottles. They started toward the park when a man flanked by two dogs blocked their path.
“Lunetta, where are you going with this Hunter?” Bill asked. Lefty and Colt sat still, but she could see they were on the verge of transforming.
Luna turned sharply toward Pete. His expression was not one of worry, but rather one of embarrassment.
“Let me explain . . .” he began, but she grabbed him by the front of his coat and within seconds they were on the roof of the building, secure from prying eyes. Her silver talons had left holes in his clothes but she had not put even a scratch on his skin.
“I’m listening,” she finished for him as her wings stretched and flexed.
Transfixed, Pete watched the creature in front of him. She was a real, honest-to-goodness dragon . . . and one of the most beautiful creatures he had even seen.
One of Luna’s wings gently tapped the back of his head, snapping him out of his trance.
“I know where Seda is being kept, but she asks you and Bill do not interfere,” he said, his eyes locking back to Luna’s.
Luna stepped back, considering this man under a new light.
“Why should I trust you, let alone believe you?”
“The Furies are plotting a return of The Dark,” he said. “Your mother is trying to stop it, and for that matter, so am I.”
“Who are you?” she asked.
Pete morphed in front of her, his outline shifting and swirling, his physical self darkening to a featureless black mass.
“I am a Fury,” he answered, his voice seemingly surrounding her.
~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~
Regular readers will recognize the names as belonging to my dragon stories “Ancient My Love” and “Ancient My New Love“. I just wrote the above; it was not written ahead of time, it’s not edited, and is exactly as it came to me within the last 15 minutes or so. At some point, I will expand and finish it. Not a finished story by any means, but then I’m not really replying to the prompt. The prompt is just an excuse to jump back into a storyline I like.
But, not now. Now, I go on to cruisers details.
Cruisers Update XV – The Details Part VI
Continuing with my late reporting of the June 14, 2015, Tri-Lakes Vintage Car show.
I’m not identifying the various car makes and models these macros belong to because, as I’ve oft asserted and repeated, I ain’t no car guy. That said, one can perhaps determine the car associated with the macros below by reading previous posts or going to the SmugMug gallery and looking at the photos of cars, matching them to the macros.
There is a SmugMug Gallery (HERE) for this, past, and future posts about this show. Also, you can click on the photos to open a larger version of the photo in a separate tab or window. Go ahead; try it.
Anyway, this being the sixth installment, I should mention I’m getting fond of these and I am glad I decided to attend the car show (braving the proximity of other people).
I mean, I shoot a lot of macros in nature, but there’s something attractive about getting close to these machines and capturing the details of them.
Plus, you know, these often trigger reader’s memories of their own vintage cars . . . well, just regular cars when readers owned them.
Neat . . . I wonder how it would look in B&W?
I tried a few different looks, but settled on that one as the one I like best.
I had snapped a number of photos of the angled chrome feature with the idea I would join them into a panorama, but once again the program would not stitch them. The above is the beginning of it, and here’s the last one (imagine three more in between):
These shots are, obviously, of the Thunderbird that was showcased in previous posts. I spent a lot of time with this car because it had a number of macros opportunities.
This car has a porthole window on the rear roof sail . . . I took up the shooting challenge.
Here is the rear fins feature . . .
And here is the nameplate . . . two versions of it.
But, my favorite feature is this one:
And, not just that one . . . I mean this B&W conversion of it . . .
That is one shot worth clicking on for a larger version.
I continue with another Ford classic . . .
Before ending with a Chevrolet 3100 pick-up.
The chrome was not really brown . . . that’s the reflection from the car right next to the pickup. Still, that gave me the option to do an interesting negative B&W conversion.
Here is a different version of the same thing.
I hope you took the opportunity to click on a few photos. If not, that’s OK.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.