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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

On Writing

How does an idea become a story? How does a trait become a character? Stephen King says that stories are not created by an author, rather they are dug up, unearthed, discovered. He's told how images such as a boy pouring coin change down a sewer grate led to Everything's Eventual. (I think it was that, I haven't read that particular story quite yet.) I'm wonderering this because I would love to write a story, be it short or novel in length. I've always wanted to write fiction, but I haven't laid pen to paper for that in seven or eight years. When I did, it was definitely a story of the discovered variety.

My class was given a book with thirteen illustrations in it, and we were assigned to choose one. We were then to write a story incorporating the image. I chose a picture of a nun on a floating chair, and did a 40 page apocolypse story in which the nuns hypnotized the world's population and led them like zombies to the water, drowning them all. It was 35 pages longer than assigned.

Just this quick rehash has brought a notion to mind:

If we all died like this, or just disappeared, what kind of events would occur in humanity's leftover infrastructure? If the demise of us was nonviolent, and we left all that we've created behind, what kind of natural order would evolve in our subways, skyscrapers, and golf courses?

Not the most orginal idea, I know, but just typing this has jerked my mental gears into action. I used to have ideas like the sky has stars, bright and scattered and numerous. I never used them. Never recorded them. That's okay, because they were then. I wasn't ready to use them at the time, and now that I imagine I'm ready, I don't have the ideas. I do know that if I can keep the story notion alive, one day the right spark will ignite. I'm watching. And waiting. I'm almost greedy for it. Who knows, maybe this time I won't have to kill everybody to have fun with it.
3:56 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


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