Monday, September 21, 2015

Throwaway Ideas

I've had some really terrible ideas. I mean awful. Sometimes they pop up while I'm reading. Other times, they might hit me in the middle of a conversation. Someone says something and I make ridiculous connections.

Bad ideas are the dark side of a creative mind.

I've gotten good at filtering myself over the years. Well, mostly. I do a lot of rewriting and even more apologizing. Fortunately, most of my ideas are amazing. Here are a few examples:

  • A Ferris wheel powered by hamsters
  • Better tasting roach spray
  • A book about fart sounds and how to mask them
  • Four tips on how NOT to give a eulogy

I particularly like that last one.

Tip #1: Don't animate the corpse to clap during the best parts of your eulogy.
Tip #2: Don't use a laugh track to compensate for lazy writing; you're not fooling anyone.
Tip #3: Don't prop the corpse up next to you and pretend to have a conversation with it.
Tip #4: Don't accuse anyone in the audience of murder without compelling evidence or a strong gut feeling.

An idea like this, I might develop into a scene. Or, it might help me build out aspects of a character's personality. I might start thinking, "What kind of eulogy would a particular character give?" or "what kind of fart masking does this character employ?"

Sometimes ridiculous questions can break a cycle of tedium and get our minds moving laterally again. And sometimes, they're just funny, and that's enough. 


Anonymous said...

When is the third Hunter Chronicles book coming out?!?!?!
By the way, absolutely LOVED Return to Exile and The Legend Thief. You are a writing genius and inspiration.

Joe said...

I read your books in 9th grade and loved them..... now im in 11th grade and i feel like my kiddish personality is slowly leaving me... however.. no matter how old i am when book 3 comes out.. i will read it.. cant wait...

EJ Patten said...

High school takes the joy out of just about everything. Seems like we trade imagination for knowledge, and creativity for criticism as we age. It's a terrible trade, if you ask me. Adults are boring. Hopefully I can finish book 3 before you become one.

And sorry to anyone who's wondering what's become of me and when book 3 is going to come out. I'm feeling much better--no more health issues--but I've fallen pretty far behind in just about every area of my life. Playing catch up now. Next book is still a ways out. I'll keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. Great to hear your health issues, and nightmare inducing surgeries,have ceased. I hope it stays that way.
Stay cool.
(I'm the first Anonymous commenter by the way.)

Unknown said...

Another author that i like.. M L Forman.. author of the adventures wanted series is going through a similar thing... he had a stroke and the 5th book of his series got delayed like crazy... you both r in my prayers.. i hope u both recover well... and may the force be with you:)

Little Buddy said...

Its been a while since I have checked in to see if you've updated, and I'm glad to hear that some of your health issues are gone and that your still at least working on book 3 and not left it on the way side. I'm not sure if I'm a little messed up but I would find it a bit flattering that so many people are upset with you because your next book hasn't come out. You affected us and if that's not one of the reasons people become writers I'm not sure what is. Get well and get writing.

Little Buddy said...


Unknown said...

Any news on Exile book 3 yet? ImI not a spring chicken and would love to read it before memory fails as well as eye sight