Thursday, July 12, 2012

Story Ideas

One of Albert Einstein's more famous quotes is that "imagination is more important that knowledge." I love that quote. And I absolutely agree with it, but... You knew that was coming right? But your imagination needs to have something to build on, in other words, you need enough information to springboard your ideas and not hamstring them. So do you get the right amount of knowledge? I haven't a clue:-) Because what and how much you need to know is vastly different than what I need to know. Then there are other variables like genre, theme and style that make any attempt to quantify it an exercise in futility But I can tell where to start: read. Yeah, it really is that simple. If you want to learn how to tell a story read a book by your favorite author. Much of story telling is intuitive, the rhythm and flow of words, the mounting tension, the staccato of action and the prods to the reader's imagination that take them down the road you want them to go. Of course, you can't just read in the genre you want. You have to read outside it as well. There's a wide world out there that affects us and your characters, the more knowledge you have about it the more realistic your characters will be and the more the reader will identify with them. Don't use fiction as research. Yeah, Fiction by the definition of the word means liar, liar pants on fire. That doesn't mean the facts are wrong, they just might be skewed a bit to fit the author's vision. And lastly read, nonfiction. No, I'm not talking about weightloss books. I'm talking, gulp, the news. A paper, internet article or magazine can provide tons of material for story ideas and those lovely little twists and turns authors like to throw at you.

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