Fishing for Ideas

So I’m sitting here trying to think of a post for this week.

Last week was awesome because I got to interview Kenneth Barker, so this week seemed like kind of a drag. So I did what I always do after I have a hectic but productive week.

I went fishing.

This is nothing new, I go fishing once or twice a week. It’s a good way to clear my head and get frustrated with fish instead of people. But it also gives me some time to think about my writing. I’ve been working on a short story for about a month now and I can’t for the life of me get it ended. It isn’t even a long short story (..?) but it’s packed with cool stuff, so it has to end PERFECTLY.
And fishing helped me work it out.

Now I’m not telling all of you to go fishing per say, although I highly recommend it, but there has to be some unwind time. A lot of us indie authors spend way too much time working. I understand that being a writer is a lot of work; I write every week. And that writing is done on top of other jobs. But if you spend all of your time working and promoting and tweeting and whatever else, you will go crazy. Plus, the threat of ‘writer’s block’ looms on every corner.

Now when you go fishing, you have to worry about casting, what lure or bait you will use, oh and don’t forget to pick the perfect spot. So you’re out there casting, you get a bite, you reel in the fish, OH MY GERD ITS HUGE, and you get it in the ice chest, or let it go, whatever, and all of a sudden…

You get the idea for a killer story.
About mutant fishermen.
I’m reminded of an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon can’t figure out a theory and takes up a job at The Cheesecake Factory. He comes to an epiphany when he drops a a tray of plates and sees the problem in a whole new light.

What if you need to see your story in a new light? Go Fishing. What if your story needs a killer ending? Go fishing. What if you are going to explode if you have to write one more stinking word?!?!!?!

Go fishing.

And like I said before, it doesn’t have to be fishing. Go laser tagging, out to a fancy restaurant, to a baseball game, for a walk. There are lots of things to do.

Maybe your trip down the street, or down the river, will turn into something you wouldn’t have achieved in a month’s worth of work.

Comic Relief

Who likes the jokes?!?!?!
I likes the jokes!!!!!

 

Ok, let’s do something that’s a little more fun than being a ‘serious’ writer.

I tend to find the comedy in all situations. To quote my father, “Life is too serious to be taken seriously.” Therefore, I try to fit comedy into all of my writing, and consequently the rest of my life.

We see this all over Science Fiction too. Comedy permeates such episodes of Star Trek as ‘The trouble with Tribbles”, all of the Star Wars movies, Doctor Who, and the list goes on and on and on….

Comedy is what makes something likeable, loveable.

Case in point: Firefly.

Firefly has dramatic moments, political undertones, and all sorts of commentary on society, but do you know what sticks in my mind about the show?

Jayne’s hat. And Vera. And Mal’s whit.

The funny things.

And it’s no secret that ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is one of my favorite sitcoms. They take scifi comedy to the next level! (you can hate me for that, but the show is really funny and my wife loves it too. As with the card game Citadels…)
So let’s talk about jokes:

1. Make it appropriate

An out of context joke is like watching a train wreck. It’s terrible, but you can’t look away. So use the context to make a good joke. If you’re hero (or anti-hero) is stuck in a dire situation, a joke about a trip to San Francisco is in order. Or about never marrying. Or something like that. It’s funny.

2. Make it accessible

I have a wife, whom I adore. We have several inside jokes. If I make these jokes in my stories, NO ONE WILL KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. If you have an inside joke with someone, it’s probably not ok for public consumption. Stay away from these things in your writing.
3. Other SciFi is always open for fun!

If you take yourself too seriously, you shouldn’t be an artist. Art, occasionally gets made fun of. Not always in a demeaning way. Take the show Castle. Nathan Fillion is the lead, he was also the lead in the aforementioned Firefly. In a Halloween episode of Castle, he dressed up as his character, Mal Reynolds, and even referenced his role in Firefly. There are several other things he’s done in reference to the show, but you get the idea. If we can learn to reference things in fun and not take it seriously, it will make everything funnier.

4. Make fun of yourself

Make fun of what you’re writing inside of the story. I wrote a terrible novel and in it I make fun of some of the ideas that I present. Because they’re ridiculous! If I can’t make fun of my ridiculous ideas, then they aren’t worth writing down. Learn not to take yourself so seriously. I love hard scifi, but sometimes it gets on my nerves and I have to stop reading or watching. Laughter directed at your own work can be a wonderful thing!

 

I hope this helps you out a little. I know that being able to laugh at myself and other things is a great joy, and it makes me actually like writing. So let’s all start laughing!