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Thread: Ever Get An Epiphany?

  1. #26
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    First novel, the epiphany came from a pile of leaves skipping and bouncing across the road like they were in a race or something. Second, I woke up one morning knowing the whole story. Third, no clue where the idea came from. Fourth, I saw a road sign and knew who my character would be. I started my WIP during NaNoWriMo. No epiphany. I could use one right about now.
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  2. #27
    practical experience, FTW LJD's Avatar
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    Not really. I pretty much have to sit down with a notebook thinking "I need some new ideas" to have a hope of finding one. Which isn't so bad : I'm not distracted by shiny new ideas because I don't have any shiny new ideas until I try to force them out of my brain.

    I do sometimes have rather minor epiphanies on how to make stuff work when I'm in the middle of a draft. I'm not sure those truly qualify as "epiphanies."

  3. #28
    Queen For the Week LadyV's Avatar
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    One of my WIPs came from a dream, which I sort of consider an epiphany. The others developed more gradually, but I still manage to have small epiphanies here and there throughout the stories.

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  4. #29
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    I've had many "epiphanies" through the years. My first being creative non-fiction that I wrote in an hour, polished in another hour, and was my first submission. It got published (and I was paid) a few months later. From then on, I was off and running.

    Until this past November. I got stuck. So stuck that not even bits and pieces of old material got me out of it.

    Around late December, it hit me what my next novel would be and it's like it's writing itself. I already have 13,000 words written.

  5. #30
    I'll procrastinte tomorrow. Rufus Coppertop's Avatar
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    I get story ideas at all sorts of odd times.

    And they are definitely "story ideas". They are not "epiphanies".

    The word has a more specialized use. It has spiritual and psychological connotations. It's more about having insights and realizations into general or specific things.

    As writers, we should have more respect for the meanings of words. Seriously.

    Refer to ideas as epiphanies now and sooner or later people are going to start referring to story ideas as revelations or apocalypses.

    Quote Originally Posted by LJD View Post
    I do sometimes have rather minor epiphanies on how to make stuff work when I'm in the middle of a draft. I'm not sure those truly qualify as "epiphanies."
    Moments of insight into particular craft techniques and how one applies them are much more likely to qualify as epiphanies than the original story idea itself.

    Wikipedia usually needs to be taken with a grain of salt but I think they're right on the money here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_%28feeling%29
    Last edited by Rufus Coppertop; 01-28-2013 at 02:28 AM.
    “But it isn't hunger that drives millions of armed American Males to forests and hills every autumn, as the high incidence of heart failure among the hunters will prove. Somehow the hunting process has to do with masculinity, but I don't quite know how.”
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  6. #31
    Time Traveler mfarraday's Avatar
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    I get epiphanies all the time. I am trying to learn to tone it down and just write it out. I often lose steam because I talk about it too much, or because I don't develop the idea after its initial basic premise. If I could be practical, calm down and get to work, my epiphanies might actually turn out to be worth something. So I know how it goes...you might have better luck than me however...Hope so!

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus Coppertop View Post
    I get story ideas at all sorts of odd times.

    And they are definitely "story ideas". They are not "epiphanies".

    The word has a more specialized use. It has spiritual and psychological connotations. It's more about having insights and realizations into general or specific things.
    I'd agree with this in a era given to hyperbole -- but yep, there's nothing quite like one of those shimmering moments of creativity when a concept flops in out of nowhere, creates a manic moment of pure excitement, ecstasy even ... and then flutters away when the traffic light turns green and the clown in the car behind you leans on the horn and the cell phone rings and your beverage falls on the floor.

  8. #33
    I'll procrastinte tomorrow. Rufus Coppertop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff Mehl View Post
    I'd agree with this in a era given to hyperbole
    Exactly the word I was looking for.

    -- but yep, there's nothing quite like one of those shimmering moments of creativity when a concept flops in out of nowhere, creates a manic moment of pure excitement, ecstasy even ... and then flutters away when the traffic light turns green and the clown in the car behind you leans on the horn and the cell phone rings and your beverage falls on the floor.
    They are wonderful moments and as you say, they can shimmer and they can produce manic moments of pure excitement and even ecstasy.

    Epiphanies are fabulous too...at least, I assume they are.
    Last edited by Rufus Coppertop; 01-28-2013 at 09:51 AM. Reason: clarification
    “But it isn't hunger that drives millions of armed American Males to forests and hills every autumn, as the high incidence of heart failure among the hunters will prove. Somehow the hunting process has to do with masculinity, but I don't quite know how.”
    John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America



  9. #34
    That hairy-handed gent
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    More often than not, I have it happen while writing. The one that comes to mind first came early in a novel, a scene I was writing involving two young American Army soldiers in a rear area base in Vietnam, ca. 1969. They struck up an odd friendship after dark one night when one went out into an open area to smoke some weed, and ran into the other who had gone to the same place to observe the stars. As lights out drew near, they made their way back to their barracks, and this happened:

    As they reached the dimly illuminated edge of the company clearing, Saint almost fell over the outstretched legs of a body.

    I had no idea where that line came from. It wasn't part of my conception for the scene. It almost appeared on the page without my volition. I remember staring at it for a moment; I could either jettison it, or go with the flow. I did the latter:

    He looked around, saw nothing else amiss, and leaned over to check the body. It was a soldier in jungle fatigues, lying on his front, head cradled in one arm so the face wasn't visible. One foot was booted, the other bare. Saint tugged at the nearest shoulder, to roll him over.

    "Helen," the body moaned.


    Now I had a character. I have no idea where that idea came from, either. But that little moment evolved into a major subplot that echoes and re-echoes through the rest of the novel, to have a significant effect on the conclusion.

    It wasn't planned. It was in no outline, not even the rawest bullet-point kind of thing I tend to work with. All told, it probably generated ~12,000 words of the story, including three complete chapters.

    This kind of thing is the major reason I urge people who ask questions about how to proceed when they think they're stuck, to "just write". Writing generates ideas. Epiphanies.

    Oh, yeah. I needed a name for this new character. I called him 'Smith". That worked, too.

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  10. #35
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Well this is awesome I dint expect to get some many interesting/great replies on this topic haha thanks guys!

    Also on another note that makes this even a little more interesting it the fact that the epiphany came to me when rereading something I already knew and had always been amazed with it was just as simple as the names of our planets that inspired me just thinking about this idea so far blows my mind the way it happened and how big the idea is now I just have to figure out what the conflict is going to be lol I am terrible and creating a believable/interesting conflict :P

  11. #36
    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorburgh View Post
    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.
    I'd just like to point out that by capitalizing Epiphany, you're referring to a specific Christian holiday held on January 6th. I don't ever recall being inspired to write a book on that date.
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  12. #37
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    To be honest, I'm not even sure what an epiphany is. I remember taking a college fiction class and this one student kept yelling "Epiphany!" At the weirdest moments. I had never even heard of the word before. So I looked it up and it said it was the day the wise men reached Jesus. So I'm still baffled what that has to do with fiction writing.
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  13. #38
    POP$ AW benefactor Chase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    To be honest, I'm not even sure what an epiphany is.
    Snazzy bow tie there, Shadow. Like all words, context helps. As Roger said, the capitalized version has to do with a religious event. The writer in your class meant he or she experienced a flash of inspiration.
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  14. #39
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
    I'd just like to point out that by capitalizing Epiphany, you're referring to a specific Christian holiday held on January 6th. I don't ever recall being inspired to write a book on that date.
    Awe well thanks for that I dint even know. haha but i dint meant that

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rufus Coppertop View Post
    I get story ideas at all sorts of odd times.

    And they are definitely "story ideas". They are not "epiphanies".

    The word has a more specialized use. It has spiritual and psychological connotations. It's more about having insights and realizations into general or specific things.

    As writers, we should have more respect for the meanings of words. Seriously.

    Refer to ideas as epiphanies now and sooner or later people are going to start referring to story ideas as revelations or apocalypses.

    Moments of insight into particular craft techniques and how one applies them are much more likely to qualify as epiphanies than the original story idea itself.

    Wikipedia usually needs to be taken with a grain of salt but I think they're right on the money here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_%28feeling%29
    I don't get story ideas, I get epiphanies, and I know what the word means. These come once or thrice per year. Story ideas come whenever I sit down and need a story idea. Nor do I have a problem with referring to something as a "revelation". Every dictionary I check makes this word perfectly applicable. Apocalypses is not at all applicable.

    I think we should have more respect for other writers, and assume most of them know what "epiphany" means.

  16. #41
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    I get them quite a bit. And always when I am least able to make note of any kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
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