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Nicholas Reicher

Coming up with story ideas

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I've been giving my system in dribs and drabs. Today I wanted to talk about the idea.

Ideas are easy - most people get about four novel ideas in a day - they just forget they had it.

If you're not getting any CONSCIOUS ideas, they're walking past you. The person that stands out in your eyes, what's going on in their life? Why are they walking around? Someone carrying an envelope - is that their whole life? A goodbye letter? Plans for the 100 MPG gas engine? Is that why they're walking so fast?

 

Practice looking around you, and write down those ideas. What made that scrape mark on the side of a building?

 

Practice reading your Bible (novel idea there!), and ask, "How can I tell the story of Agag in a sci-fi setting? Western? Fantasy?" My latest novel had to do with the Story of Christ, but couched in historical fiction. I've got Judas in there, John the Baptist, the kingdom of God, the bride of Christ, inheritance, the right of Christ to rule as king, the temptation, a whole host of things you'd never probably pick up on.

 

So how did that story idea come to me? A single mental image of the Black Knight stopping the murder of a boy.

Yup. Wrote a whole book based on that.

 

Last year's Nano Novel? Two gunfighters facing each other at a Tombstone-like town. The one taunts the other. The response is "it is appointed to men once to die..."

And then the draw and shoot. The villain slumps and the protagonist finishes his sentence. "...and then cometh the Judgment."

 

Latest novel? Had this image for years. A lonely space station in space. Transmission from earth... "seas turned to blood. Billions dead. Monsters stinging us, pain lasts months. We're unable to send a ship to come get you. Good luck. Last transmission from earth, out."

 

Got another one eventually, a man climbing into an escape pod and jettisoning out of his space ship before it crashes.

 

That's all I got.

 

That's all I need,

 

Now, I do the "Save the cat" process, and expand that into 21 points, then 60 points. Once I have 55 points, I start writing.

 

ALL YOU NEED is a single scene, an image, an impression.

 

get into the habit of writing ideas down. You can find yourself like me, with over 400 ideas for novels and a life expectancy a little shorter than that.

I'll take everyone through the process again AFTER this - you just need the concept, the scene, the impression - usually, it will be your inciting incident or your climax scene.

 

If your idea is the denouement, um... keep thinking.

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If you haven't yet ported these posts over to a personal blog somewhere, I recommend it. These are good.

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1 hour ago, Johne said:

If you haven't yet ported these posts over to a personal blog somewhere, I recommend it. These are good.

I've got a number of ideas like this in my neglected undiscovered little web site

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13 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

Last year's Nano Novel? Two gunfighters facing each other at a Tombstone-like town.

You need to post some of that one on here!  That sounds like a great western!

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16 hours ago, HK1 said:

You need to post some of that one on here!  That sounds like a great western!

When its time for critique and hurt feelings, I will!

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2 hours ago, Nicholas Reicher said:

When its time for critique and hurt feelings, I will!

I'll look forward to reading it!  No critiquing involved :)

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On 12/1/2019 at 3:05 PM, Erin Cook said:

Out it check? 

Sorry, middle of the night. Avoiding ending a sentence with a preposition. :)

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Distorting the meaning of a sentence to conform to outdated grammar rules is behavior up with which I will not put!

 

Nice site, Nicholas!

Edited by EClayRowe
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14 hours ago, EClayRowe said:

up with which I will not put!

Thank you, EClay. I will try to remember to avoid it in the future.

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