Most writers’ say ideas are all around us, which I will admit is true. Newspapers, magazines, TV and even snippets of other writer’s work will invoke something deep inside. But for me not so much – my ideas attack from different sources and they are the internet and junk mail.
The internet has so much information that to take it all in could make one’s head explode, but you google a word or phrase that interests you and you are sure to come up with thousands of sites that are sure to spark the makings of an idea. Writing generators are also a big help. My two favorite are Seven Sanctum (www.seventhsanctum.com) and Chaotic Shiny (www.chaoticshiny.com). Even though Chaotic Shiny is geared towards gaming, it is a massively fun play toy for writers. On both you can choose how many random bits of information to review at one time and they offer up the little things that may get over looked like books and what taverns are serving. They never fail to spark something. Even Seventh Sanctum’s links help inspire plot twists that you may have never thought of. Check out the Nine.Frenchboys link which will take you to the Serendipity site and there you have many more options and goodies to choose from. Generators such as these have never failed to spark something in me when I feel that the idea tank is running low.
Now on to junk mail. I am not talking about credit card offers (they always seem to find their way to the shredder before I get a chance to open them), bills (I just cringe as they laugh) or even your local store ads (Hey, 2 for 1 on dog biscuits – have to keep that), I am talking about catalogs and advertisements from places such as Danbury Mint and The Hamilton Collection (you buy one dragon [okay several] and you are forever on their mailing list). Shiny pictures on everything from jewelry to statues draw my attention and those who hold it longer than a passing glance get cut and added to my “special book” (My “special book” where all of the wonderful pictures from weapons to statues and furniture reside is nothing more than a large perfect bound sketchbook that sits close to my desk) where they wait until the time is right. You can now get catalogs on just about everything from the mystical to the mundane and a good place to start is www.catalogs.com where you can order different catalogs and have those all shipped directly to you. Just remember, that after you have harvested the catalog for its vital pictures – make sure you recycle so the catalog can find new life as a new object.
So do not limit yourself to the ordinary, look towards your mail – you may never know what waits within that next flyer or catalog.