When I think on where I receive my ideas, I often return to few sources – library, friends, family and media. This pretty much takes together my entire world, because that’s where one gets their ideas. But about my latest? Before I can talk about the latest, I ought to explain how it works for me.
The simplest of rule is: Write down everything that makes you think twice! I recall it from several books dealing with writing, but actually practicing is what makes it work for me. I always carry a notebook around for this purpose and this can result in pages filled with oddities that have caught my eyes, ears or mouth. Going through the material might not give me the full idea later on, but it’s the key to unlock the mystery again. Nor is it usable for anyone, who hasn’t thought the thought themselves.
Yesterday morning resulted then the following:
She didn’t know he had sleeve tattoos. Both arms. Now that she knew, it was hard to concentrate on the meeting – her mind was invaded by images of his patterned flesh under the clean cotton shirt. The smooth skin caressed by the rough fabric sent goose pumps all over her body and she nearly broke the pencil.
He had ran pass her yesterday, after the woman, who so carelessly had pulled her documents on the floor. The blond woman hadn’t stopped, ran straight to the waiting taxi and drove away. He had run right after her, but missed her. The rain soaked his shirt and vest, gluing the fabric on his skin and revealing the hidden secret under his always perfect cotton armor. The always-perfect boss had both his arms covered with tattoos! She knew better to hide behind the bush, getting herself all wet – but she had no wish to betray herself with the umbrella. He had bad temper and even worse when caught off guard. But fortunately he had passed with not a glance to her direction. She promised never again leave late again, especially when it was heavily raining – that proved especially harmful.
At least her brain had worked then, not like now, when she couldn’t even keep pencil on place. She tried concentrating to her notes.
He hadn’t seen her then, but she betrayed herself with her changed attitude and lack of concentrated and it puzzled him.
This was sparked by tattoo art book I saw in the library, sitting on the shelf, which I wasn’t suppose to touch. I was there to study after all. But the wonderful sleeve tattoo on front cover wouldn’t leave me be and after I saw this guy in perfect suit walk by, with “it must feel good to be so clean and smell like linen closet” echoing through my scull I reached my hand for pen and paper. Then I put it aside.
A woman is called aside by the airport security and said she can’t continue her journey before she undergoes few tests. There is a massive black obstacle at her side and they suspect she’s carrying something in there, drugs most likely. She is shocked, first on suggestion that she carries drugs, on which they continue, seeing how upset she gets, which they think comes from guilt and secondly by the unknown lump in her side.
When they finally get to the hospital, they find out she has a massive tumor in her side.
This came two hours later after I had listened Dalai Lama’s interview with the local news correspondent. How did his message relate to this? I think it was the mentioning of Chinese government being two-faced. Doesn’t connect with them in any way, but it just slipped on the paper from my empty mind.
By the evening I had two notes in front of me – one a situation, other a skeleton. I put it together and started writing out the questions that rose and anything that I could get.
What if the first scene had related from earlier that day, before she took her ticket from the secretary and went to catch the airplane?
What if on this moment she felt compelled to hide her sudden rush in heart, because she senses her boundaries?
Then this sudden surprise at the airport?
Would she go for the chance and start relationship?
She probably wouldn’t like many people to know about this. Such odd news often end up in newspaper, sometimes months after – how would she explain this at work?
How would she explain this to her boss?
What if during this time she discovers why he has the tattoos? Running, hiding, leading?
From here I can continue that the most probable timeline for the story to take place would be around 2 months before it all came out. Even if the tumor wasn’t fatal, it would still make her think twice on missing another chance for happiness and this can lead in recklessness. Which can nicely take her in trouble. From here on it will be logic and research, but the first idea will be written out like it came. The first look may be staggering, seemingly typical story, but here’s the magic of this all – after you’ve written it out, researched the topic for a day or two, recognized the typical ways the story has been dealt, you can twist it to a whole new idea. With every question you ask, you add opportunities and the crossroads always take you to a city or a town.
Yesterday at eight in the evening I ended up with perfectly good looking idea for the story. It may not be written today or the way I first thought about it, but it is a nice conflicted incident that just waits to be untangled. Other ideas come to me pretty much the same way. Sometimes the trigger is a simple woman’s shoe historians find from Roman legion resting place on History channel, other times it’s something my brother sais commenting the news, then again it can be a strange person, who catches my eye. Whatever the trigger, I opt only for one thing then – paper and pen. We can always sort the ideas later on paper, but our head IS a trash can and searching through that for a small 6 word note would be as good as hiding a Blue Whale in Marian Trench.
Today’s post is my response to the prompt What books are your nightstand?, this month’s topic for the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Throughout the month, you can get to know twenty (or so) other writers from various genres and backgrounds and at various places in their careers. Next stop on the tour is Tiberius Clausewitz Drusus Nero Germanicus on August 21st, 2011.