One of the most popular questions readers ask writers is “where do you get your ideas.” I can’t speak for all writers, but for me, a new story starts with a spark, then a flicker, then a full-blown flame.
Where does the spark come from? I play the “what if” game. What if a spaceship crashed on earth and the ship’s survivors were…or what if it wasn’t earth? What if it was a planet that only looked like earth…what if…
Why don’t you play along with me and we’ll see what we come up with. Next week I’ll pick a best of the crop and the winner will receive an advanced reading copy of Wink of an Eye.
Choose a “what if” topic and leave a few sentences in the comment section along with the corresponding numbered topic. Don’t forget to include your email address. Have fun!
1) What if your mail gets mixed up with the neighbor’s? Only problem is the neighbor died twenty years ago.
2) What if a stranger crashes into you at the grocery store? As he runs away, you notice your shirt covered in blood.
3) What if you woke one morning to discover your senses had been switched? Your sense of taste was now your sense of touch. Your hearing has been switched with your sense of smell.
4) What if you had the ability to make photographs come to life?
5) What if you buy a used sofa and discover something sewed into a cushion.
Between my son’s kids and my daughter’s kids, we have four currently in diapers. We are diaper experts. Or at least I thought we were. Didn’t know they could explode.
Recently, one-year old Casey went to bed early, and got up up late. My daughter is one of the best mother’s I know. There was a time (maybe with the first kid, possibly with the second) that she would have gently woken the sleeping baby to change its diaper. Doubtful with the third. And Casey, is the fourth kid and has a younger sister by twenty minutes so you wake a sleeping kid in their house now and you face Nina’s wrath.
So Casey wakes up all smiling and happy but he has this massively wet diaper. I go to change him and the diaper like explodes! Little tiny, gooey, beads of what ever it is that makes up diapers, go everywhere. You couldn’t wipe them up, they multiplied! Like rabbits. It was a complete, horribly, gunky mess. Of course Casey was oblivious to the surrounding chaos and was quite happy entertaining himself with a game of patty-cake solitaire. He could care less about what was going on behind the scene.
Sort of like a reader who just wants to read a good book. Do most readers really care if it took you a year to write it, a year to get it published, another year to hit the bookshelves? I doubt it. Yes, there are the real fans who eagerly await your next title and they might be interested in the ‘behind the scene’ stuff. But for many, I suspect, they just want to read a good book.
Everyone in the business says now is a great time to be a writer. We’ve never before had as many options to get our work out there in the readers’ hands, whether it be a physical book or on an e-reader. The popularity of e-readers has proven we no longer have to bow at the feet of the big publishers to have our work read. But however good that is, it’s also created a bit of a problem. For me at least, and I suspect I’m not alone.
There are currently eight new blog posts from other writers in my in-box I haven’t yet read. I want to read them and will get around to it and hopefully they aren’t time sensitive.
But it makes me wonder how many blog posts or tweets are going straight to the delete folder rather than being read? Because, I, like almost every writer I know, subscribe to other writer’s blogs. We follow other writers on Twitter. We “like” their Author Facebook pages. We’re friends on Facebook, Goodreads, and all the other social networking sites because we want to support them. But aren’t we sort of preaching to the choir?
It kind of hit me in the face the other day when I kept seeing the same “how to” article tweeted and shared over and over again. As writers, our main goal is to reach readers. Not necessarily other writers.
Like Casey’s diaper, I think social media has become over-saturated with writers telling other writers how to write. Do my readers really care why I write in first person rather than third? Or why action verbs work much better than passive verbs? Or how to write effective dialog? Or how I can increase my Twitter followers by following three easy steps?
Maybe it’s time to take a step back and give thought to who we’re really writing all these posts for. There are a number of big names in the writing world that I do follow because they offer very sound advice. But I get a wee bit frustrated by seeing their post re-tweeted a thousand times.
Just my opinion. I could be wrong. Feel free to re-tweet. Maybe it’ll start trending. In more ways than one.