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Project nachonaco
11-27-2009, 08:58 AM
I was reading a book called Harry, A History, which is basically the world's best thesis paper on Harry Potter. Seriously, this thing kicks butt. Explores the creation, the expectations of the staff at Scholastic and Bloomsbury, and how it just blew everyone away.

One thing that fascinates me about J.K. Rowling's life story is how the idea of Harry just popped in there.

Are these the best kinds of ideas? Where you jump out of a plane, so to speak, and hit the ground running?

Or do ideas need to be carefully thought out?

Clearly, whatever J.K. Rowling has done has worked, and I believe she has opened doors for people.

Kenzie
11-27-2009, 09:48 AM
I think the best ideas - and probably most ideas, in fact - are a bit of both. JK Rowling did say that Harry strolled into her head, fully formed, but I doubt the entire story came to her at all at once - I'm guessing she did her fair share of thinking and planning after that initial lightning bolt.

It's very exciting when something does just hit you out of the blue though. It's probably one of the best feelings in the world. A WIP I just started came from a very vivid dream, and when I woke up the characters and story just wouldn't leave me alone. That's a sort of miracle to me.

kuwisdelu
11-27-2009, 09:54 AM
First a mommy idea and a daddy idea...

Wait.

I don't know. The stork brings them? I don't know. I don't think anyone does.

The Lonely One
11-27-2009, 10:19 AM
I was gonna say something about 90 percent perspiration but maybe I just need a different deodorant.

LOG
11-28-2009, 01:09 AM
There exist no formulae or methods by which you may concieve an idea, nor are there procedures by which you might be guaranteed success.
The story of how Harry Potter came to being is the story of how Harry Potter came to being, not a lesson that can be learned and then re-applied so that your ideas might also come into fame.

I feel quite proud of that phrase, not sure why...

scarletpeaches
11-28-2009, 01:10 AM
Brainalchemy.

All your experiences come together, something sparks them and voila! An idea.

Mr Flibble
11-28-2009, 01:15 AM
Ideas? They pop into my head and refuse to shut up. The more I write, the more ideas I have because they breed.

Getting them on the page is another matter entirely. More like giving birth. There's a lot of pain and swearing and then I say 'Holy cow, did I make that?'

dgrintalis
11-28-2009, 01:20 AM
Ideas? They pop into my head and refuse to shut up. The more I write, the more ideas I have because they breed.

Getting them on the page is another matter entirely. More like giving birth. There's a lot of pain and swearing and then I say 'Holy cow, did I make that?'

QFT

C.M.C.
11-28-2009, 01:21 AM
they come from the place the missing sock goes when it is eaten by the washer.

Word Jedi
11-28-2009, 02:07 AM
Ideas? They pop into my head and refuse to shut up. The more I write, the more ideas I have because they breed.



You ain't kidding on that!

Word Jedi
11-28-2009, 02:09 AM
they come from the place the missing sock goes when it is eaten by the washer.
I wrote a short story once about aliens making the return trip home and they were all wearing unmatched socks they stole from the laundries of America.

Xelebes
11-28-2009, 04:07 AM
They arise from a problem.

Cyia
11-28-2009, 04:31 AM
What if.....

Rhoda Nightingale
11-28-2009, 06:11 AM
All over the freaking place. Album covers, jewelry, places I've been, some random thing one of my roommates said to me one time, songs, movies, a customer at the bakery--ALL over. I think Neil Gaiman said it best here. (http://www.neilgaiman.com/p/Cool_Stuff/Essays/Essays_By_Neil/Where_do_you_get_your_ideas%3F) (Except for the part where he says you shouldn't use dreams, because I totally do that.)

NeuroFizz
11-28-2009, 06:34 AM
None of the ideas that pop in our heads have greatness as an innate property. But many of those ideas have the potential to be good to great stories. It all depends on what we do with our ideas, how we shape them, and elaborate them, and then re-shape them that starts them on the path of being complete stories. In this business, imagination is nothing without skill and hard work. And good or great is not for us to self-proclaim. That's for our peers and our readers to decide.

brokenfingers
11-28-2009, 07:24 AM
Whenever I need a really good idea, I just get a fresh sheet of virgin paper from my desk and take out this old fountain pen I have hidden deep in the back of my drawer. Itís a 1932 Mont Blanc Ecrivain - with a cap and barrel made of glossy black pearl, and a nib made of rhodium.

I bought it in some antique shop, I forget which one and where, but the old man who sold it to me told me his grandfather had removed it from the hand of some obscure French writer after heíd jumped to his death from the Eiffel Tower.

Once I have the pen and paper, I light a candle, then place the nib against the flame, holding it there until the tip is limned in a fierce red glow. That gleam, accompanied by faint wisps of smoke and the pungent tang of burning metal, tells me Iím ready to begin.

I take the pen and carve a line upon my arm. Nothing large or fancy, mind you. A half-inch or so usually suffices. Unless I have things on my mind or Iíve been away from my inner world for a while. Then I must sometimes cut deeper.

I turn my arm and allow the blood to drip-drip-drip into an inkwell purchased from the same old man. Usually by this time, Iím already beginning to feel myself open up and see new worlds and ideas stream by me, seductive leaves cast by a visionary wind. They call and whisper to me to follow them down a never-ending road.

Once I feel I have enough to begin my story, I dip my pen, take a deep breath and follow one of them until the well runs dry.

Izz
11-28-2009, 07:47 AM
I turn my arm and allow the blood to drip-drip-drip into an inkwell purchased from the same old man. So blood loss is your formative tool, then?

Kate Thornton
11-28-2009, 07:56 AM
So blood loss is your formative tool, then?
In that weird place just before you pass out, you can get som pretty interesting ideas. Execution is another story.

Izz
11-28-2009, 08:01 AM
In that weird place just before you pass out, you can get som pretty interesting ideas. Execution is another story.Well, yes, if you execute yourself in the process i can see the difficulty...

(in a bit of related news, i'm currently following an idea i just had while napping)

brokenfingers
11-28-2009, 08:04 AM
So blood loss is your formative tool, then?A part of me goes into every story I write.

And my ideas are born of my own experiences, dreams,hopes, blood, sweat, tears and bile. Blood is but one medium of many. And a little blood loss is a small price to pay. Many have paid a much greater price.

If you're writing without giving anything of yourself, then you haven't delved deep enough.

writeronfire
11-28-2009, 11:24 PM
Whenever I need a really good idea, I just get a fresh sheet of virgin paper from my desk and take out this old fountain pen I have hidden deep in the back of my drawer. Itís a 1932 Mont Blanc Ecrivain - with a cap and barrel made of glossy black pearl, and a nib made of rhodium.

I bought it in some antique shop, I forget which one and where, but the old man who sold it to me told me his grandfather had removed it from the hand of some obscure French writer after heíd jumped to his death from the Eiffel Tower.

Once I have the pen and paper, I light a candle, then place the nib against the flame, holding it there until the tip is limned in a fierce red glow. That gleam, accompanied by faint wisps of smoke and the pungent tang of burning metal, tells me Iím ready to begin.

I take the pen and carve a line upon my arm. Nothing large or fancy, mind you. A half-inch or so usually suffices. Unless I have things on my mind or Iíve been away from my inner world for a while. Then I must sometimes cut deeper.

I turn my arm and allow the blood to drip-drip-drip into an inkwell purchased from the same old man. Usually by this time, Iím already beginning to feel myself open up and see new worlds and ideas stream by me, seductive leaves cast by a visionary wind. They call and whisper to me to follow them down a never-ending road.

Once I feel I have enough to begin my story, I dip my pen, take a deep breath and follow one of them until the well runs dry.

Ha ha ha! Only a writer could cook up this kind of story.

Kitty Pryde
11-28-2009, 11:42 PM
Harry Potter's not really a great idea, as you say. It's an example of great story-telling (and perseverance on the part of the author!). 'Mopey magical orphan who is prophesied to save everyone's ass' is pretty standard as ideas go.

Most of the "great idea" books, IMO at least, are much less popular and earn much less money, though I would consider them to be better than the HP novels. I've read plenty of 'great idea' SF/F short stories that haven't won awards and haven't even been read that widely. A great idea doesn't get you too far.

rhymegirl
11-29-2009, 12:08 AM
Yes, I think opinions may vary when it comes to defining what a "great idea" is.

Jamesaritchie
11-29-2009, 02:05 AM
I think Harry Potter proves that the idea means nothing at all. There's nothing at all orginal in the Harry Potter idea. It's been done at least twice, and tried innumerable times.

Success lies in the execution, not the idea. Rowling took an unoriginal idea that had already been done, but wrote about it in a way that was phenomenal.

Misa Buckley
11-29-2009, 02:13 AM
If you're writing without giving anything of yourself, then you haven't delved deep enough.

QFT.

Kalyke
11-29-2009, 02:45 AM
Whenever I need a really good idea, I just get a fresh sheet of virgin paper from my desk and take out this old fountain pen I have hidden deep in the back of my drawer. It’s a 1932 Mont Blanc Ecrivain - with a cap and barrel made of glossy black pearl, and a nib made of rhodium.



I have one of those, but it is made of the crushed teeth of baby kittens, and I usually shove it up my nose to get the blood. I write on the dessicated livers of old mummies, and then scan them to save it to disc. By the time I've done with all this preparation, I usually forget the idea that got me interested in writing, so I go off and play jenga with a pair of spider monkeys until I get a new idea.

Izz
11-29-2009, 02:56 AM
so I go off and play jenga with a pair of spider monkeys until I get a new idea.Spider monkeys are surprisingly good at jenga, i've found...

much better than baboons.

Ken
11-29-2009, 02:56 AM
... very few are capable of having great ideas. I sure ain't. So for most, it's a matter of making do with so-so ideas, which are pretty yawn-able taken in and of themselves, but which can be made into good stories with much effort, thinking, and trial and error. For those like Rowling who have that ability to come up with great ideas it really isn't worth the effort to try to figure out how they do it. Genius like theirs is something that defies understanding. They just are great at what they do because they are great.

Angie
11-29-2009, 06:11 AM
Spider monkeys are surprisingly good at jenga, i've found...

much better than baboons.

And slightly less chance of having your face bitten off.

Izz
11-29-2009, 06:13 AM
And slightly less chance of having your face bitten off.Hey, that just adds to the excitement. Gotta really have your head in the game.

Moonfish
11-30-2009, 12:48 PM
Ideas? They pop into my head and refuse to shut up. The more I write, the more ideas I have because they breed.


That's so true! Ideas breed ideas. Writing breeds writing.

KiraOnWhite
11-30-2009, 03:06 PM
I think anyone can come up with a unique idea, but what truly renders them great and memorable are how they are developed.

Aside from that, I don't think you can wish for a great idea...they come when you're not asking for it. The best is to up the chances of coming up with one by thinking for ideas more actively.