283. How Ideas Work

(somewhere, someone had shared a link the little rant I did on “Bo Jio”, and I have no idea where. Wherever it is, it’s bringing traffic into this blog. Not sure whether to feel happy about that)

You must forgive me for my disappearance last weekend. Being out of the house 12 hours a day and being stuck in traffic jams for 4 hours does things to a person I pray you’ll never have to experience. When I finally got home on Friday night, it was midnight, and my brain just shut off after I typed “282” in the space for the post title.

Then Saturday came, and it was time to travel some 300 kilometers (that’s about 150 miles for you folks in the U.S.) south to Johor to celebrate my grandmother’s 93rd birthday. She just seemed rather amused by our efforts to make it a chirpy event. I guess doing the same thing 93 times does dampen the spirit of the occasion a little bit.

Arrived home on Sunday – that is, yesterday – evening feeling all sorts of nauseous. Did a little lie-down, celebrated Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day!), and got home with about an hour to spare until midnight. Only then did I open up the laptop and found post number 282 still waiting for me.

So I got writing.

(fine, I was also distracted by Skyrim. Boo hoo)

It’s a funny thing, how ideas work. Some ideas you get, and you can immediately do something about it. A couple of years ago, my friend had a stroke of genius and decided to mix his vanilla ice cream to his chocolate lava cake, and realizing that it tasted heavenly, made all of us try it out. He found out pretty soon that the idea had been done to death, but he had a moment there.

Some ideas take off immediately. Most of the stories I write for the Fiction Friday posts are instant ideas: you get them, you write them down. No hassle.

But then there are the ideas that has to sit around for a while. Like a strange relic you find at the beginning of a massive Role-Playing Game. A piece of dragon scale so early into the game? There has to be something to this – I’m not sure what, but there has to be something here. You keep it away. You more or less forget about it, and it floats up in the lake of your memory from time to time, and you begin wondering if it’s still worth keeping around.

I mean, it’s taking up space in your inventory which you could use to lug around other stuff.

I got the idea for Grounded earlier in the year: February, to be exact. Before going for the digital filmmaking course in Penang, I knew that part of the course assignment will involve making a short film. Being a self-respecting writer, I threw out a few ideas before the course started, just so I’ll be prepared to make a pitch when the time comes.

One of those ideas was relatively simple: an angel, fallen from heaven, meets a little boy who had been grounded by their parents.

It’s a funny thing, how ideas work. Because the idea never made it into a short film for the course; and despite me telling myself that I’ll write it for one of the Fiction Friday posts, I never actually got around to writing it. It just kept bobbing up and down in the metaphorical lake of memories/ideas, waiting for me to do something about it.

Then when yesterday, knowing that I had to make up for 3 days’ worth of missing content, I grabbed on to the first high concept I got, the story turned out to be anything but what I had first imagined it to be. The angel – originally envisioned as a male – became a teenage girl sort of angel. She didn’t meet any boys – not until the end, at least. And she spends all of 5 paragraphs actually being “grounded”.

And as I was writing the story, somewhere after the 1,000 word mark, I thought to myself, There’s a novel in here somewhere. I haven’t quite figured it out, but there’s the potential for a novel in here somewhere.

Then over the hours spent sitting at the desk at work today, a few more stray ideas came swirling into orbit around the story idea that first started off as a short film pitch. I’m thinking New York City, populated by people, ascended demons, fallen angels, double agents, and unlikely heroes. I’m thinking a cosmic mystery – something like a spiritual two-fisted tale. I’m thinking about racist (speciecist?) angels and kindhearted demons.

I’m thinking I might as well write it, since the writing for A Song For The Rain is in stasis. Perhaps while writing Grounded: The Novel, I’ll figure out how to continue May’s adventures, and I’ll get back to writing her story.

It’s a funny thing, how ideas work.

You just never know what comes next.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s