The Continent of Lost Ideas

foggy_valley2Some people believe that coming up with ideas for stories is the hard part. I disagree. In fact, I have ideas for new stories several times a day.

The hard part is taking the idea for a story and molding it into some meaningful presentation. There’s a big difference between, “He finds an evil ring of power” and The Lord of The Rings.

I’ve met hundreds of people who aren’t writers, but have ideas for a novel or a movie. (Sometimes they want me to write the story and then split the credit 50/50 if it’s wildly successful.) I’ve also been asked whether I’m afraid of anyone stealing my ideas.

/scoff

It takes more than a really good idea to write a bestseller or blockbuster. A lot more. No, the only intellectual property concern I have is for full text completed works. Besides which, there’s nothing new under the sun and every idea you can imagine has been done to death. It’s how the story is told which makes a good read.

I’ve lost thousands of ideas in that gap between idea and story. If I don’t have something down on paper (literal or digital), the concept is eventually lost. (This has happened with musical compositions as well as story ideas, which makes me sadder because those are rarer.)

Perhaps these lost ideas wander the earth and congregate in some far off mystical place. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit eventually and get some of those ideas back.

But in the meanwhile, the blog seems like an appropriate place to share my ideas. First, I can create a record of them, and someday when I’m bored and looking through old posts, or just want to work something but don’t know what, I can call up all the posts of story ideas and see what tickles my fancy.

It also will allow feedback from you if one of these suddenly appeals to you.

Two ideas that I want to get down immediately have both come from dreams. (Dreams are a superb and source of raw ideas, but they have a poor story structure; again, the hard part comes in the craft.)

  • Post-apocalyptic search for his life-mate
    • There has been a major catyclism; war, natural disaster, whatever. Whatever it was destroyed whole cities and ruptured the fabric of society. In the midst of this chaos, our hero has taken leadership over a small band of people and helped them survive. But he was seperated from his lover before the disaster. Once he has decided that his ragtag band can now survive without his leadership, he prepares to depart. “Where are you going?” they ask. “To find _______.” (The name of his true love.) “That’s crazy!” they protest. “She must have died! Even IF she survived the initial disaster, there’s no way she can survive the current aftermath of (insert other dangers, radiation, wild animals, bandits, confused attack robots). And even IF she survives it, there’s no way YOU’LL survive (current dangers) and even IF she survives AND you survive…you’ll never find her.” He responds, “Well, I have to try,” and leaves anyway.

 

  • The dragon thief
    • In this particular world, there’s a fantasy airforce of sorts, dragonriders who make up an elite corps of soldiers like modern Airborne Rangers or something. The protagonist of this story isn’t one of these soldiers, but he is a daredevil thrillseeker. He decides to steal one of their dragons right out from under them. The modern equivalent would be a mobster trying to steal a jet out from under the airforce. This is even further complicated by the fact that in the story, the jet (dragon) actually has loyalties to its rightful owners.

What to write first?

decisionI may (or may not) be a skilled writer. But I’m an expert procrastinator, there’s no doubt about it.

As a result, it’s been a couple of months since I last devoted significant time to the four projects whose progress we shall track here. And I’m not quite sure which one I want to dive into first.

Actually the fourth is exempt from this decision; it’s the priority project at all times. And since you don’t know what it is yet, you can’t vote for it anyhow.

But which of the other three projects tickles your interest?

  • Woman’s Best Friend
    • Alone in the Colorado countryside while her husband is away on business, Naomi becomes perplexed and concerned when her dog Jessie seems increasingly convinced of some imminent threat behind the house, particularly in the coldest hours of the night.
  • Manifest Destiny
    • Two men and two women awaken in a small room with no memories, and no clues to their identities or purposes. Their only possessions are numbered jumpsuits.
  • Echoes of Prophesy
    • This is the sequel to Shadows of Prophesy. It begins after Torell’s death, whereupon Marana finds herself pregnant without explanation, the use of magic has been stripped from all who practice it, and the Empire of Tartania is in chaos after the war.

These synopses are very brief, but if one of them prompts a question, that’s a good sign that something about it is interesting enough to make you want to know a little more. And if you want to know more…that’s going to make me want to tell you. Savvy?

Website Launches

Champagne ToastHappy New Year!  2009 is in full swing; vacation’s over.

Have you made any resolutions? I don’t normally (who keeps em, right?) but this year is an exception.

I’ve resolved to maintain a website for showcasing my writing, as many authors do. Primarily I’ve been inspired by this by Brandon Sanderson who not only keeps a blog, but publicly reports progress for his current projects.

My purpose for emulating him is two-fold:

Primarily, I intend to keep myself honest, motivated, and focused. If my blog is publicly tracked by my parents, friends, co-workers, and my wife, then I can hardly shrug off inquiries about my latest projects per the usual procrastination. They’ll know if I’ve been writing. And (hopefully) they’ll pester me for the completion of interesting projects.

Secondarily, every writer needs an audience. I find I’m most motivated to finish a story when I picture printing the hardcopy and handing it out, or emailing it to the few readers I have already. A website automates that process. My mind’s eye constantly pictures the website’s readers, even if they’re only immediate family, as people for whom I am writing. This encourages me to take the stage with gusto.

Welcome to Jason R. Peters dot-com. I hope you enjoy my work.