How Do I Come Up With My Ideas? I Dissect My Process For Clarion.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Today’s essay in my Clarion blog-a-thon rush deals with ideas.  As in, “Hey, you’re a writer, where do you get your ideas?”  And so the Clarion Echo entry (where I’m live-blogging my writing and my writing process, entry only $5 for six weeks’ worth of stories) starts like this:
I have a deadline I’m running up against: the Drabblecast, a well thought-of podcast, had commissioned me to write a short piece for their Lovecraft tribute month.  I came up with a great story entitled The Cultist’s Son… but The Cultist’s Son turned out to be black.  I mean jet-black.  As in, the scene where the baby starves to death is maybe the second- or third-worst thing in it.  And I said, “So did you feel comfortable publishing an NC-17 tale?”
They were not, though they liked it a lot.  So I have to write a new Lovecraft-inspired story in the next two weeks, which will give me time for another revision or two.
Which means you get to see how I come up with ideas.
There’s a couple of problems with me writing a Lovecraft tribute, however:

  • I’ve written too many Lovecraft riffs alreadyRiding Atlas is clear, dead-eyed Lovecraft.  As Below, So Above is a monstery take on mystery of worshipping a God.  The Sound of Gears is King Lovecraft, but Lovecraft still.  Dead Prophecies, Suicide Notes, Written By An Alien Mind, hell, even Under the Thumb of the Brain Patrol are all Lovecraft-inspired… And that’s not even counting my pure Lovecraft “Cthulhu is Rising” tale Shadow Transit, due out in Buzzy Mag at the beginning of July.  So I’ve mined that vein a lot, maybe too much.
  • It has to be R-rated at best.  As noted, I’d be better off shooting for PG-13.
  • It needs to read well.  It’s for an audio production, so I need to ensure it works as a spoken-word piece.
  • It needs to be short, 3-4,000 words.  That’s a little short for my comfort zone.

So after The Cultist’s Son hit the skids – and it was a great idea, even if the execution was too raw for the target market – I needed to think up what my next move was.  So I started pulling up various Lovecraft stories, trying to figure out what about him appealed to me
…after that, you can see how I break down the various ideas I have, where I’m searching for my inspiration.  If you wanna know how I separate “an idea” from “a story,” then this is where I show you.  And as mentioned, you can see it for a mere $5 donation, to a very good cause.

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