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Thread: Ever Get An Epiphany?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Jan 2013

    Question Ever Get An Epiphany?

    So basically I am wanting to know how many of you where inspired to write a book/short story because of an Epiphany.

    But also I want to know what you do the minute you get this amazing thought and what your first actions are to do with said though?

    I will share mine today I had an Epiphany for the greats story idea I have ever had when doing something as mundane as doing a few thousand clicks on stumbleupon. I came across a space article and when reading had an idea that blew my mind. Anyway I now have this idea but don't know where to go first with it because the idea for this story is something I want to share so badly in story form. All I know is that now I have hours of research ahead of me.

    Anyway I thought this would something fun to share and to see what other people come up with/do once they have these great story ideas and maybe how the go about doing their research for stories that require it.

    P.S I am not jittery to the bone about this idea

  2. #2
    Superpowers: Making babies, writing MeganJoWrites's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    I always think of story ideas at odd times - usually when I'm driving.

    I then kind of roll the idea over and over in my head for a little while, let it marinate, until I have a rough outline -- problem, climax, conclusion.

    Then I jot that down that rough outline. Sometimes, if there is a scene or two that I KNOW I need to have happen, I'll go ahead and get it down (I don't typically write my novels start to finish).

    Is that kind of what you are asking? If I have an idea, I make sure I get it down SOMEWHERE, so I don't forget it.
    Multi-published author of contemporary romance with Avon, Berkley, and Entangled Publishing.


  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Ya that's pretty much what I was wondering, I was also wondering do you (or anyone for that matter) ever write anything that is research intensive. If so where do you usually go first for your info library,internet, local schools,ect...

  4. #4
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    I can't think of anything I've written that DIDN'T come this way. It's impossible for me to force any writing I've done. When the flash comes, my first act is always to write the scene or snippet that strolled into my mind. I've had several of these sitting in my computer as Word files for years. Some die there but others have blossomed.

    Once they become a bit more full-bodied (however that happens), I start looking around on the internet and ALWAYS more epiphanies, or little bits that open new doors or make these seemingly miraculous connections. I guess it's a brain ready to write. At least that's how I look at it.

    Not that anything has come of any of it that would vault me into "professional writer" realm. Yet. Still, I'm regularly amazed by the paths that seems to open.

    As for research, I find I rely on the internet, fully aware that not everything I'm getting there is legit. Check, check, double, triple check. Not too different from your basic high school research paper. Make sure you have multiple sources. But then, I'm not writing highly fact-reliant fiction.

  5. #5
    QWERTY!!! IAMWRITER's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    In My Own Little World...
    The project that I started earlier this month, came after a weird conversation I had with my friend. That night a randome scene popped into my head and I've been winging it from there on.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW
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    I get short story ideas once or twice or three times per year in just this manner. What I do is sit down immediately and write the story as fast as possible. The story almost always sells first time out.

    Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to make such stories come when I want them to, so I take full advantage of the few times I do get them.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW JKRowley's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Yes, I have had epiphanies and can't wait to get to a keyboard when I get them.

    My books require a lot of research. I use multiple sources and take a lot of notes. Make sure you note where you got information in case you have to go back. I've wasted a lot of time trying to recall a source.

    The internet is fine for some research, but use reliable sites for facts. I tend to immerse myself in a subject: read books, watch documentaries, talk to people involved. Believe it or not, I learn a lot in internet forums. I don't participate in the conversations, but often find interesting reference suggestions and familial aspects that don't make it into research papers.

    Have fun and enjoy!
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  8. #8
    The Anti-Magdalene KellyAssauer's Avatar
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    I have a box full of epiphanies, and I keep getting more... at this rate it will only be a year or two before they take over my home...

    *wonders if I could sell a few?*
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  9. #9
    nutruring tomorrows criminals today PorterStarrByrd's Avatar
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  10. #10
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    Dec 2012
    Throw live rats at me if you want to, but I am an ESL member. What's an epiphany? It might help other posters here who are reading this thread so I'm asking.

  11. #11
    Trigger-Happy Pyromaniac Writer BRDurkin's Avatar
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    An "epiphany" is usually used in the sense of a sudden idea or realization that just sort of "hits" you out of nowhere. Usually inspired by something common or something that happens in every day in the case of the OP, it struck them while browsing the internet.

    All of my works have originated out of such things, I guess, dreams included. I've never been able to just sit down and think of an idea and have any fun writing it. All the fun ideas have sort of struck me out of nowhere, either by something I see or hear or read. My first steps are to write down the idea itself, and/or any scenes that result from it. Then I go back and work on the overall plot, as well as characters. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to months, though. Even once I have the idea, I can't force the rest of it. It has to come on its own.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRDurkin View Post
    An "epiphany" is usually used in the sense of a sudden idea or realization that just sort of "hits" you out of nowhere. Usually inspired by something common or something that happens in every day in the case of the OP, it struck them while browsing the internet.

    All of my works have originated out of such things.

    Ahh, thank you so much! Oh, yes, ALL my works come from epiphanies. Once I had an epiphany, a day dream about a stripper dancing on the pole and entertaining the club's customers. I literally imagined her dancing on the pole on her underwear and the guys salivating over her like puppies. And you know what song I was listening to at the moment? Adam Lambert's For Your Entertainment. Exactly. This was in mid Nov. 2009 and I will never forget that night, because that daydream alone created a 250,000-word behemoth that's trunked to this day. That was one of the files I found on a CD-R last night, books that I didn't remember having written, so yeah, that's my 2 cents on epiphanies, folks.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW dkamin's Avatar
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    It's where most of my ideas come from too. Though, there have been times I have gotten fantastic ideas just from reasoning through some things (i.e., magic is cool, but what could I do to make it different?).
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  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW MakanJuu's Avatar
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    If I'm correctly assuming what I think you mean by epiphany, yes. In fact I tend to get story ideas more often that way than just saying "This kind of story might be fun, let's start researching!"

    The series I'm currently writing came from a combination of (don't laugh) Power Rangers & another TV series called Legend of the Seeker. Basically, around the time Legend of the Seeker was advertising for it's first season, there was a season of Power Rangers airing where they were using wushu type martial arts & literal animal spirits to fight & I thought it was a cool & relatively original premise. Then the Legend of the Seeker commercials I saw had a really iconic shot of the male & female protagonists standing head on surrounded by fire & made me want a male & female protagonist. I've worked on the original details & story arcs for about four years now & just in the last few months justs started writing.

    It's not the only one either. One idea for a horror series occured to me when I started reading articles claiming that a very dark paranormal documentary series that I liked, Paranormal State, was actually a fraud.

    Another story idea was sparked by parapsychological research & visitng new age forums, hearing a lot of speculative answers by psychic indeviduals as to their understanding of how their powers work & why.

    Yeah... it just happens a lot. In fact, I think I only have one story idea floating around in here that was just me wanting to do that kind of story as a sort of demi-homage.
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  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW FCameron's Avatar
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    My scenes come to me out of the blue, without prompting from reading, seeing any triggers.

    If I get writer's block, all I have to do is take a quick nap, take a walk, eat a meal, garden or work out, etc. and I can't wait to write what came to me during the "break" from writing.

    For my current R&R (since Tuesday afternoon), I've written 6,430 new words to be new chapters 1-4 in my revised novel. The scenes were easy--they popped into mind.

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  16. #16
    Runs With Scissors RedWombat's Avatar
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    I don't start many projects with epiphanies, but I often get them partway through when I suddenly realize where the thing is going and what to do with it and how I'm getting the hero out of this fine mess (Stanley.) "Aha! Of course they are worshipping the concrete lawn goose/after the exchange student/covet ordinary mortal spoons! It all makes sense now!"

    I rarely think of a clever idea to start a long project, I just start writing and see what happens.

  17. #17
    Writing Anarchist DeleyanLee's Avatar
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    I always get epiphanies, when something finally bubbles to the conscious mind as a gift from my creative mind.

    OTOH, none of them are ever starts of stories. They're all things that click once the story's started.
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  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW buzhidao's Avatar
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    Do you mean an apostrophe?

    I don't have epiphanies. Just a lot of dumb ideas.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW
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    "That must hurt."


    ETA: Thorburgh, go for it. The worst that can happen is, you'll learn something. The best is, you'll get a great story out of the process.

    I love epiphanies but would rather avoid those that require research in the follow-through.

  20. #20
    Tyrant King jeffo20's Avatar
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    Mine usually come as sort of a 'double epiphany'. There's the first 'ah ha' moment when I have the initial idea. Like Megan Jo, I think it over a bit, though I don't outline. About two or three months after that first 'epiphany' I usually have a second one, which typically serves as my opening scene.
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  21. #21
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    Ever Get An Epiphany?

    I had one once, but a doctor gave me some new antibiotics and it went away.

    He did warn me there is no long term cure as the condition can return unexpectedly and manifest itself with other writer conditions like fear of serial commatitus, purple word syndrome, and of course the infamous condition of plot failis...
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  22. #22
    creative genie katci13's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    When I get an idea, the first thing I do is write down a brief summary, a description of the important players, and anything else that comes to mind, setting, major conflicts, whatever. A had a burst of inspiration today and did exactly that. Ran and found some paper and jotted down the idea. Two paragraphs, but I have to start somewhere. ^_^

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  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin ecwma's Avatar
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    *Alarms Sound* That's right! This means it's time for another UNINVITED LECTURE! (Brought to you by Liz: answering the questions you never really asked.)

    I think that ultimately, what we're discussing here is our unconscious mind feeding us information. It has long been thought that the unconscious mind is significantly smarter than simple, conscious thought (as proven by Dr. Pawel Lewicki of the University of Tulsa in 1992 when he conducted a study regarding where an X would appear on a screen. While no participant was able to verbalize the rules, despite winning $100 if they could, their reaction times became faster as their unconscious mind figured out the rules by which the X moved. Even when told the rules, the contestants needed a flowchart to follow them. Their unconscious minds, however, could do so with ease and precision.)

    I believe that epiphanies are really simply ideas springing forth from your unconscious/subconscious mind, which is probably a good thing.

    I am interested as to what the other neurology/cognitive psychology people on here think of it, but I would honestly credit most of my stories to my subconscious mind. Even I am usually not entirely certain where I'm going with my story until I've gotten there, and sometimes I get stuck on certain questions and then revel in the answers.

    I am aware that this is how some authors write, and I believe that this is the main reason behind some authors claiming that their stories "have a mind of their own".

    To sum up: inspiration can come from many places, but most notably, from the part of your brain that you're not even aware of.

    But to answer the actual question: yes, I do get epiphanies, which are sometimes quite wonderful, and when in doubt, I always write down slightly more than I think I'll need to remember them (especially as many come when I'm sleeping, and waking up in the morning to find the words "organic toaster" scribbled on a notepad when you were *certain* that you'd had a fabulous idea is not really the happiest circumstance.)
    Last edited by ecwma; 01-27-2013 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Realised that I hadn't actually answered the question.

  24. #24
    Did you see my bag? AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    90% of my ideas come from epiphanies. I have yet to force an idea or massage one out. I love the aha moment.
    So, I have this blog. It's here
    I tweet too.

  25. #25
    Miss Conceived Liralen's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    I've been known to pull off the road at the first likely spot to write a story idea down, and I'm notorious for shower epiphanies, although those usually run to poems.

    I've always got a notebook of some sort close at hand, and I keep note files in my laptop.
    The creative writing process is a lot like emotional binge and purge cycles.

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