Cassy’s Corner- Ideas
How do you track your ideas for the next manuscript? I have been talking with a number of my writer friends and have found this a fun question. Here are some of the responses I have received. See what you think.
- -I have a shoe box that I throw plot ideas into. When I’m bored I pull it out and read through the bits of notes. Something comes from that.
- -The newspaper. I clip articles all the time. There is more good stuff in the local newspaper than will ever be on the shelves of the bookstore.
- -My kids. They are outrageous and funny.
- -I have worn weird clothing. Miss-matched and color terrible stuff. I wait to see if anyone says anything. Most people just stare. The only one who has ever had the guts to comment was about 10 years old. She told me I was really needing to get some help.
- -Have you ever sat at one of our holiday family dinners? No one can beat my in-laws for a story that probably shouldn’t be written. (This friend is from a large complicated family who, well, she is right. The stories should probably not be made too public).
- -On an airplane or in a restaurant I eavesdrop. Shamelessly. Great stuff.
- -I work in a hospital. There is nothing that tops that for ideas. Did I tell you the one about… (I’m editing here).
- -I started a new game. When I’m alone and talking with a stranger I make up some really stupid story about myself. I keep it going for as long as I can so I don’t laugh and blow the deal. What people will believe is off the charts, but it’s fun. I hope I never really run into anyone again. Gahh, that would be awful.
These are all comments from writer friends. I can’t lay claim to any of them.
Two days ago I did have an experience that set me thinking about a scene in my next book. I write mysteries, so keep that in mind. I was at a small family-owned local grocery store, checking out my purchases at the counter. A little boy about three tugged on the edge of my jacket. I stopped pushing my carriage so I could pay attention.
“Are you a bad guy?” he asked.
“I don’t think so. Do you?” was my response.
“Bad guys aren’t good.”
“True. But I try and be good. I hope someone would tell me if I weren’t.”
He screwed up his face and with his hand still holding my jacket seemed to give this terrific consideration. His mother shrugged and said everyone was a bad guy in his estimation.
I asked, “Do you know the expression, Happy New Year?”
He nodded with solemn consideration.
“Well, then, Happy New Year to you,” I said.
“Okay,” he said. “I guess you’re not a bad guy anyway. A bad guy wouldn’t hope for me to have a good year.”
He let go of my jacket. As I was walking to my car I wondered what it must feel like to be about three years old and worry about who the bad guys were. The next thought was, how do I wrap that encounter into my next book?
What vignettes do you have? How do you keep track of special details that must not be lost? Do you have crazy behaviors that should only be reported anonymously? We’re family here, you can spill.