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Ideation May 26, 2010

Posted by bobv451 in ideas, movies & TV, writing.

Ideas bubble up all the time, and I always try to give some hint as to the (fractured)[tortured] process that lets me come up with ideas. This from the Creative Think blog deserves some mention. It is amusing as well as a little bit scary.

The second one, see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, worries me the most. Being a writer is to have a mental disorder. Nobody in their (write) mind would want to spend hours working on a story that might never sell and if it does, not produce enough money to live on and even if it is wildly successful not bring much fame. Face it, the vast majority of people in the US have not read most of the books on the NYT bestseller list. I get a kick out of Castle because of the poker games. From Silk Stalkings days when he appeared as a character and other shows, I knew what Stephen Cannell looked like. But the others? James Patterson? Nope. And I suspect Patterson outsells Cannell by miles. Even if you get a lot of money, there’s very little public recognition. I’ve seen pictures of JK Rowling and probably wouldn’t recognize her in the flesh if she were shopping at the grocery story.

But my point is, even with fortune, there’s not much visible fame. And there’s not much fortune in writing for most of us. We write because of an intrinsic need to write. You might call this an OCD. I do. And isn’t it really necessary to be a little off in the head to see unexpected connections? Otherwise, you’d see what everyone else did. I’d say a mental disorder is a necessary condition if not a sufficient one for a writer.

But the truest of these points is to create many ideas yet most of them are useless. A writer comes up with ideas. A better writer picks the best of the ideas to use.

And as the old Q&A goes. Q:What do you call a writer who never quits? A: Published.



1. insightstraight - May 26, 2010

Q: Why do I write?

A: Because I hear the food is lousy in mental institutions. And the view, even worse.

Seriously, this points out again the difference between those who *want* to be writers and those who HAVE to write. Which, I think, is related to and perhaps parallels the discussions about ideas. Those who ask “where do your get your ideas?” sometimes seem like a different species from those who have so many ideas for stories that they will never catch up with all of them. And vice versa.

Either the world suggests to you many possible story lines each day, or it doesn’t. You either have to write to get all of the ideas/scenes/stories/characters out of your head, or you get to dance through life hearing only your own internal voice.

The further I myself dance through life, the more it seems to me that it is hard-wired. Not that any individual could not with diligence produce copious works. But the inherent near-disorder of being driven to write seems to be just as much a peculiarity of brain structure as is mathematical or musical ability.

2. Bob Vardeman - May 26, 2010

Strange that you mention “many possible story lines each day.” Scott Phillips didn’t want to keep going with what we had originally titled the Fairy Detective Agency, so I am pressing on alone. So far the mystery story has 2 turnings that are completely different and I have a 3rd one that fits all the setup but is entirely unlike the others. Great fun! But stop me before I think of #4!

Just be careful about saying writers are a different or the publishers will demand that we surrender our DNA for verification. They own our souls, so why not our genome?

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