People Leave So Many Ideas Lying Around!

I was at the movie theater this week, taking in the bargain-basement special. If you get up early enough, tickets cost less, and I’m always up pretty early, anyway. The movie wasn’t bad, or maybe even good.

Somewhere toward the beginning of the movie, my mind latched onto some little detail of the thing that appealed to my Muse. I’m not talking about something like “It should be about a girl who gets caught up in a tornado, and whisked away to a strange land, but instead of OZ, in my book, it’ll be Macy’s.” More like watching Gone With The Wind, and focusing in on “This is set in the south. What a cool idea. My next book’s gonna be set in the south.”

Except, you know… the south on a space-ship, ’cause that’s more my thing.

So, at that point, half my brain goes scooting out along a “Well, what if I did this?” track, while the other half is still sitting in the theater, keeping an eye on the movie and its plot.

It wasn’t a bad movie. It held enough of my attention, even though I’d found a bunny to chase, and maybe that actually makes it a good movie.

But it wasn’t my movie. It wasn’t my story. This other thing–the other train of thought–it was mine.

So, there I am… fiddling with one set of ideas while I’m watching a different set on the screen in front of me. No, I really don’t know how that’s possible.

I’ll tell you about the idea sometime. I’m still building it, right now. I’m about a million miles away from having a plot. Or, you know, characters, conflict, structure, or a name for my spaceship.



  1. Reply

    I do this all the time! Sometimes I’ll even deliberately put on something I’ve already seen that’s similar to what I’m writing, so the ideas percolate in my head together.

    • Reply

      I’m a sucker for non-fiction or documentaries, while I’m playing with ideas. Lately, it’s been TED talks in the background, or really random books on completely out there topics. The stranger, the better!

      • Reply

        I find I have to pay too much attention to non-fiction if it’s interesting, and if it’s boring I just want to drill a hole in my head.

        • Reply

          The focus might actually be what I love about it. It’s something that forces me to take time off from the draft or the revision I’m working on, and really concentrate on something else for a while. Mini-vacation!

    • Reply

      If you mean “People who are painted as the Undesirable Other due to their region of origin,” I think I already am. If you mean Ned Beatty and a bunch of banjos in space, no. Not my thing.

  2. Reply

    I come up with some of my best ideas while watching movies and TV shows or reading books. Often it’s just a little something in the story that sparks an idea. It’s important to log those down ASAP when they happen because you can lose them! Not so easy to do when you’re sitting in a movie theater.

    • Reply

      This one really grabbed me by the throat! I think it’ll stick around for a while, whether I write it down or not. I do lose the little, peripheral ideas from time to time.

    • Reply

      Yes! My muse is Bruce Lee from the Pink Panther movies… but with more cultural sensitivity and maybe the wardrobe from Enter the Dragon.

  3. Reply

    Playing “what if” is one of the great benefits of being an author. Once, a casual glance out of the car window to a lakeside campground led to a 20K story (unfinished). Also about aliens!

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