Wednesday, June 27

Where Do You Put Your Ideas?


We all have one, whether it is a physical box or jar or just a place in our mind where we tuck away little tidbits of information. I have a physical box and a place in my mind and a notebook where I write things down. It all works for me and my writing process.

My ideas may come from a cemetery in a new city I'm exploring or, I may have a vision or dream with a scene fragment which will start my writing muscles. But it's my idea box where the story really begins to take hold because there are bits and bobs inside that work their way into a story.

My idea box was a coaster box at one point in its life. The coasters are long gone, but the box - penciled snowmen, snowy trees, hats and gloves - I just couldn't bring myself to throw out. So I gave it a new life. I started collecting things in it. A pencil I found in the bottom of my purse that had been used so much there was barely room to place it in my hand. A red ring box with a hidden lever that took me forever to figure out. A yellow heart on a stick that reads "Hug Me". Blocked letters that read "Just Believe". Small charms from watches or bracelets. A ceramic bell from Isreal that has a beautiful scene hand-painted on it. A decoupaged postcard that reads 'everyday a new story begins'. A crystal angel ornament. A crayon that is white but colors in red, blue and green. The list goes on. I add to my box regularly and take things from my box but these core things always remain inside.

No hidden reason for this, I just needed a little Ryan fix...
This week I added a small piece of bebe's sash - it's the prettiest shade of turquoise! - from the very first wedding she's been in and a picture I found of a man and woman walking away from the camera, holding hands. For me, it's a great 'walking into the sunset' image because you can only see the hands and a little bit of hip/leg for each of them, the rest is left to the imagination.

No, Ryan Gosling isn't in my idea box, but if he'd like to volunteer..... Just kidding, Ryan, I know you're busy.

The ring box has made it into a book, the bell from Isreal, too. Several idea box bits or bobs have helped me show a different side to my characters. The picture I added this week, though, is the first  picture - everything else has been a physical thing...and I don't think I'll add many more because I like the ideas to be a little more unformed than a picture allows.


So, while my big Story Ideas may come from a vision/dream or a unique space in a city, the bits and bobs that flesh out my characters come from my own idea box. How about you?

18 comments:

  1. I love your idea box--and the things you keep inside it. It sounds like my sister-in-law's keepsake box. Not that much rhyme or reason, but she cherishes everything inside it. I don't have anything so poetic, just computer files with cryptic descriptions, pieces of dialog, and the occasional what-if.

    Great post, and now I've got one of those crystal angels going through my mind--I have a few of them, given in memory. Hmm...

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  2. I'm the same as Liz, no idea box or anything just some files on my computer with dialog and stuff:)

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  3. I'm pretty much like Liz and Kimberly. I don't have an idea box, but I wish I did. Perhaps, I should get one now! :)

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  4. I have the computer files, too! I think I just like visuals and things I can hold as well as files I can write in.

    Liz, when I'm stuck the bits and bobs in the box sometimes send me in a direction I never imagined!

    Kimberly, files are idea boxes, too, I think!

    Melissa, try it..you never know where (or how) inspiration will strike!!

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  5. I keep my writing files in Google Drive -- and I have a collection (folder, directory, or whatever you want to call it) for ideas. For works in progress, it's notes in the document (** FIXME ** ) to make the easier to find.

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    1. LOVE that idea, Maggie! Thanks for joining in today.

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  6. I love the idea of the idea box! Very clever and sounds like fun. I'm going to have to make a note in my 'to do' folder to get an idea box. :-) Thank you for sharing!

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    1. lol, Alicia! I love my idea box - sometimes when I'm stuck I'll just dig through it and see if anything sparks an idea...

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  7. I have the files and notebooks and all the other things mentioned here..love the idea of an idea box for visuals. I have a memory box that I keep treasures in, but nothing that is to do with my writing and all to do with certain things that remind me of special people who have been or are in my life. I might have to add another box to my collection from your suggestion though.

    Thanks Kristi!

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  8. Memory boxes! I love those - have one for me, one for bebe, one for us (DH & I) as a couple...Yes, I hang on to waaaaaaaaaaay too much stuff! Thanks for stopping by, Christine!

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  9. I have big accordion files jammed with articles I've ripped from the newspaper, or pieces of paper with an intriguing thought scrawled across it. I've often thought it would be a fun challenge to close my eyes, reach in, pull out three or four pieces of this treasure trove and then write a story working it all together! Hmmmm.

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    1. Kate, I love that idea! And I feel a blog post/challenge coming on!!!!

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  10. Do sticky notes count???
    Sometimes I have to write an idea down asap so I seem to have a colorful selection of sticky notes LOL

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    1. different colored sticky notes are the *only* way to fly, Elizabeth! I have colors for characters, themes, action....my notebooks are a rainbow!

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  11. First, I love a blog with questions for readers. Second, I envy you for thinking of the right ones and making the answers beg to be told. I haven't had much luck with that--yet. I put ideas on whatever writing surface I can find and move: seldom sticky notes, but three blank notebooks, index cards, slips of paper, grocery lists, and one on the margin of the puzzle page of the Sunday NY Times. And still, I think I lose as many as I keep...anybody else have that problem?

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    1. *raises hand* And sometimes I don't *technically* lose the idea but when I get back to it the note appears to say something like 'margerine sticks ponies' and I have no clue what it means. Have I mentioned my handwriting is atrocious?

      Thanks for stopping by today, JLC!

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  12. I have an idea bulletin board. LIke titles: The Well-Groomed Peacock. Or pictures--there's one of a town sign, Welcome To Peshastin--just because I love the sign and the name. Peshastin. There's a picture that was the last one on a roll a film and it looks like a group of people at the end of the world. I have no idea where the picture came from but it always inspires thinking on my end.

    I do have a small tin treasure box where I keep chestnuts because I like how they feel in my hands, metal jacks--because I loved Jacks when I was a kid. And other nonsensical stuff that only matters to me. When I die, my kids will open it and wonder WTF???

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  13. I have a place in my mind, I guess. I store ideas there. If they stay, then I know they're keepers.

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