Friday, January 9, 2015

Writing Excuses Master Class - Idea Generation

One of my favorite podcasts on writing, Writing Excuses, has decided to do things a little differently this year.  They're treating the year like a big master class in writing, and each week's writing prompt will lead into the next week's, and will help to build different skills over the course of the month.  In the interest of actually doing the exercises (instead of just thinking "That's a good idea, I should do that!"), I'm planning to do these on Friday posts.  This week's prompt:

Write down five different story ideas in 150 words or less. Generate these ideas from these five sources:

  • From an interview or conversation you've had
  • From research you've done (reading science news, military history, etc)
  • From observation (go for a walk!)
  • From a piece of media (watch a movie)
  • From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)
Here goes nothing (and for me, 150 words for a story idea is really long, so don't be surprised if these are mostly random phrases):

  • From an interview or conversation you've had - from a random conversation with one of my best friends, the idea of having a press conference for villains, along the same lines as post-game press conferences with football players.  This leads to a world in which "good" and "evil" are determined in a tournament, and after each game both sides have to debrief on what happened and what they can do better next time.
  • From research you've done - the idea of sense-jamming, similar to how bats can jam each other's sonar by sending complementary waves to cancel out another bat's sound waves and thus keep that bat from getting the food or what have you.  What if people could "jam" each other's senses the same way, and what would the limitations and uses for this ability be?
  • From observation - there's a camera store in Portland called Blue Moon Camera that specializes in film cameras and film processing.  The first time I entered this store, I was convinced that it was some kind of time portal that was run either by time travelers or hipsters, or some combination of both.  I wanted to know what kind of equipment they kept in the back that would allow the portal to hold for as long as it has, and how they handle "mundies" coming in, unaware of what they're entering.
  • From a piece of media - I've been obsessed with the phrase "honey blood" ever since I heard it on a TV show, and I want to play with the idea of potions that may change a person's blood into something akin to honey, with the preservation properties of honey, and thus allowing the person to live for much longer.
  • From a piece of music - the song "Wasted Love" gives me images of a setting in which the lyrics are literal - love is something that is tangible, and can be used and wasted like currency.
I'll be excited to see what next week brings, and if any of these ideas pan out into anything.