Saturday, February 24, 2007


Tea party illustration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Sir John Tenniel.

It's not even March yet and a while to go before silly season, but I find my mental processes congruent with Mad Hatters and March Hares.

While part of my mind seriously considers various plot developments towards a story arc for the present WIP (A Malignity of Ghosts), another part is acting like a damn fool and presenting me with outrageous possibilities - of the weak and patently shallow kind.

When I wonder what kind of psychic ability/talent with which I should embue my MC, this giddy little voice suggests she use a machine as a ghost-busting device - and call it a Dooz.

And I don't care for metafiction, really.

When I consider a scene to illustrate her fantasy world and the problems with a proliferation of ghosts therein, my incontinent mind immediately sketches a department of highways vehicle, four-ways flashing, cruising slowly to keep pace with the psychics on either verge, who are calling out "Follow the light!"

And they do. Obediently. A whole cavalcade of them.

Trouble is, these ideas tend to stick like treacle.

Does anyone else suffer from this sort of malfunction?


writtenwyrdd said...

Silly ideas are a way in to your creative place. What I do when I get a silly idea is to treat it seriously, say to myself that's nice but what else?

I mean, what else can you do other than to run away, screaming, with your hair on fire?

I love the image of the highway truck. I get stuck behind plows in the wintertime, and that's what you made me think of. Follow the light.... snort.

Bernita said...

You're right, Written.
After I posted this I thought, hmmm.
I could have a screwball incidental character have the machine. And have another minor character, somewhat shaken, relate the story of the failed attempt at exorcism to my MC.

Ric said...

Ghostbusters? Comic psychics?
The purpose, I would think, is to stretch your mind with new possibilities. Likely a couple of these may suddenly glow like the proverbial light bulb - you should at least give them a chance to shine.(hopefully before jotting down 10,000 words and hitting the maze wall).
though I agree with the machine idea - (see above)

Bernita said...

There can be a degree of comedy, Ric, that sets in whenever the office-bound and the bureaucrats get involved. In anything.

Carla said...

Isn't that called imagination? I don't think you can get just the ideas that work; you have to get the ones that don't as well (and then spot the difference, which is the hard part). A bit like advertising - half of it is wasted, but nobody can tell which half. As the other commenters have said, worth playing around with the silly ideas to see if they lead to something good.

Bernita said...

"Imagination." I like that, Carla.
Thank you, People.
Now I don't feel quite so - inebriate.
One always thinks other writers are more orderly and professional and organized than oneself.

Erik Ivan James said...

I like what Carla has to say. When I get a "silly" idea, I write it down anayway. Sometimes when I come back to it in my notes, maybe it wasn't so silly afterall. Most of those notes, though, become crumpled wads of paper on the floor.

raine said...

One always thinks other writers are more orderly and professional and organized than oneself.

Ahhh-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!!! (snort!) No, no, a thousand times no. :-D

Agree with everyone here, lol. I was about to say it would be nice if the imagination only came up with workable ideas...but then I started thinking that would be a little mechanical, and possibly boring.

Besides--who can say when a seemingly silly idea will catch right on?

Sam said...

There are no silly ideas, just as there are no silly questions...right?
I suppose the trick is telling which ones will hang around, and which ones will evaporate.
They sound good to me!

Bernita said...

A good practise, Erik!

No one could hardly be less orderly, etc. than I, Raine.

Thank you, Sam. Right now they won't go away.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Bernita, I've read all the Malignity excerpts on this page and this is definitely a book I would buy. In an instant! I love this stuff and you write very well.

Here's my credit card. Do with it what you will.

Bernita said...

Ah, Bonnie,(with-water-on-the-brain-from-swim-meets-and-rain) thank you.
Glad you enjoyed these bits.

Gabriele C. said...

My male characters keep having silly ideas. Mostly involving another male character and a nice meadow or furs in front of a fire. :)

Bernita said...

Don't think my stuff is quite in that league, Gabriele.

December Quinn said...

I actually really like both of those, especially the idea of the automobile armada blasting New Age music and shouting "Follow the light!"

My problem is, my characters always want to say and do stupid, breaking-the-fourth-wall things:

"Why is this happening to me?"
"Because you're a character in a book." or whatever. Which I also hate.

It's worse when I write historicals. They keep wanting to say and do anachronistic things for humor. "If I had a wristwatch, I would know that. But alas, it won't be invented for several hundred years."

Bernita said...

Hee, December, you understand the urge!

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