Monday, May 09, 2005

Writing Ideas

You draw a blank.

You've been sitting in front of the monitor, trying to convince yourself that this is the last game of solitaire and that after that you'll write, write and write. That last game was fifteen games ago. Since then you tried. You really did, but that blank document stared you in the face and you thought that a million more games might clear your mind and give you that all inspired idea you've been waiting for. And yet, nothing happened yet.
So I have the cure. I really do.

Fiction or non-fiction - no problem.
The trick is to start. Once you start, the ideas will flow. They will never come from a deck of cards, though, trust me. Be it real or virtual deck.
But how to start, you say. This was the problem in the first place.


Fiction. What I'm about to say in the next few lines may sound blasphemous to some. But it works. I promise. Let me whisper it first so you won't fall off your chair: Formula Plot. Yes, that's right. I've said it and now the cat's out of the bag. Sometimes, when all other options have been exhausted, this is the only one left. But don't you worry. I promise that once you start, your ideas will kick in and that formula plot you started with will be but a fading memory replaced by your original thought.

Non-fiction. Even simpler. Read the newspaper. Find something you like. Write about it. Yes, it's that simple. I'm not suggesting, heaven's forbid, to plagiarize. I'm merely recommending starting to research a subject you found interesting in a newspaper. While researching and writing, you will find a new angle, something you haven't thought of before. You will have a completely new article, book idea, essay before you know it.

And that's the trick with ideas.
You have to work with them so they work with you.

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