Friday, March 22, 2013

More Science . . . More Fiction

Yesterday I received another nod from an editor at a science fiction magazine.  At long last I have a home for my short story about a futuristic society where people purchase conversation (by the word) instead of sex off the street.  I'm not sure if this story is social commentary or just my warped mind imagining the possibilities in a world where twitter is more popular than a family dinner conversation.

At any rate, the editors had some nice things to say about my speculations and will be publishing this one later in the year.  With the publication of my next two stories, I certainly have enough of these to comprise a decent science fiction collection.

Naturally, when I told my wife about this story, she wanted to know how I came up with my "weird" ideas.  (People always want to know where fiction writers get their ideas.)  Difficult to say, but I have "weird" ideas all the time  . . .

I do get some of my ideas out of boxes of Cracker Jack.  In fact, just writing about a Cracker Jack prize gives me another idea for another story. 

Sometimes I have a story title long before I have an idea for it.  I hear phrases, pieces of conversation, I write these down.

Sometimes I write a story in one genre (like a western, for example) only to realize that the story is not a western at all, but a science fiction story . . . so I have to rewrite it from a new perspective or vantage point. 

Sometimes I have a "voice" for a story long before I have a story.  But a strong voice can carry a story and I often have to hear the "voice" before I can begin writing a piece.

All of this sounds kind of squirrelly, I know.  But it is important stuff to anyone who sits in the dark for long periods of time, hours at a time, eating donuts and drinking coffee and punching at keys to form sentences and paragraphs. 

Where do I get my ideas?  I have no clue.  I just listen.  Half of writing is listening, I think.  When I hear something interesting, I write it down.  And after that, I doubt.  It takes a lot of courage (or idiocy), I think, to let someone else have a peek at your words.

But until I finish the next page . . . I'll keep listening for the voice.  I'll know it when I hear it. 


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