I'm putting this post together as a first attempt at what may evolve into a semi-regular blog feature: A Friday post that briefly covers a variety of things -- loose ends, quick updates, and random writing thoughts-at-large.
Today there are three things I want to touch on:
I was asked recently about where I get ideas about what to write. I've been asked this before (I think all writers get this question), but it's always hard for me to be specific, because I'm not really sure. Maybe it's a gift or just a sign of my scatter-brainedness, but thankfully ideas come to me faster than I can create stories.
While I may not be able to always say where they come from, I at least try to keep track of them. I always have a list of ideas I'm working off of. And yes -- it's in a spreadsheet. One tab of my "Story Tracker" spreadsheet lists 'ideas' and the other tab lists all the revisions of the stories I've completed, their word-count, where they've been submitted to, and so forth. OK, I admit it -- I'm nerdy.
Anyway, as I was thinking about that question this week, I realized one source of my ideas, and I wanted to share it with you: I seem to get a lot of the germs of my ideas right out of the news. I'll read a news story or catch it on TV and then later it will kind of reappear in an altered way, in a new setting, with a new 'what-if' kind of ending, or whatever. But the seed of the idea seems to have come from that earlier news story.
And I think this is a good thing -- after all, truth is stranger than fiction, so why shouldn't it serve as the basis FOR some fiction?
At the beginning of this week, L.G. Keltner presented me with another blog award -- the Booker Award.
Thank you very much, L.G.!
So here are the rules of this award:
-- This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blog must be at least 50% about books (reading or writing is okay)
-- Along with receiving this award, you must also share your top five favorite books you have ever read. (More than five is okay)
-- You must give this award to 5-10other lucky book blogs you adore.
Well, I love so many books, it's extremely hard to pick only five as my favorites, but here are five are surely be top contenders for my list:
Stranger in a Strange Land -- Robert Heinlein
The Lord of the Rings -- J.R.R. Tolkien
The Stand -- Stephen King
Dune -- Frank Herbert
The Godfather -- Mario Puzo
Many, many others might make this list if I were to redo it on another day, but these are my picks for today. And if for some reason, I was restricted to only non-fiction, I might say:
Cosmos -- Carl Sagan
The Tao of Physics -- Fritjof Capra
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -- Robert Pirsig (yeah, ok, it's a novel, but it touches on so many real-life issues and deep topics that I'm including it here)
On Writing -- Stephen King
The Tao of Pooh -- Benjamin Hoff
Now I'm supposed to name five-to-ten other "bookish" (or writing) blogs that don't already have this award, but I'm going to cheat and open it up. Check out my profile to see all the blogs I follow, and here's the thing: Every one of these blogs deserves this award!
So I hereby present this award to each of you!!! Take it, display it proudly, and pass it on.
And finally, I want to touch on something that many of my fellow writers have in their blogs the past few days: The writing world has lost a huge legend: Ray Bradbury (8/22/1920 - 6/5/2012)
I was first exposed to the work of Ray Bradbury in the early 1970's when I read his famous novel Fahrenheit 451. I loved it and have re-read it several times since. I have also read and admired much more of his work, from novels like Something Wicked This Way Comes to a ton of his short stories.
But I have not read everything he wrote, or even most of it -- in his lifetime he published over FIVE HUNDRED separate pieces, from short stories to novels to screenplays.
I loved his work as a reader, and now, as I clumsily hack away at trying to develop as a writer, I am even more impressed and awed by his prolific output. To have written so much extraordinary work is simply amazing.
And, you know? I opened this post talking about writing inspiration, and I think I've actually touched on it throughout. In the section on Booker Award, I mentioned several favorite books that inspired me to write (including "Zen and the Art..." which was rejected over 100 times before it was finally published and became a best-selling legendary book -- how inspiring to a writer is that?!), and in this section, I've come full-circle. Because if I ever need inspiration about how to write, I can't do any better than to consider the life and work of Ray Bradbury.
Thank you for all you've given the world, Ray -- you will be missed.