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Where Did I Hide That Great Idea?

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love pen by querita

Where Did I Hide That Great Idea?

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Where Did I Hide That Great Idea?
How many times have you heard people ask you, "Where do you get your story ideas?"
I know that as I go through the day something will make me say: "that would make a great story." It could be an unusual scent that brings me to exotic places and two characters who are compelled by the power of that scent to engage in unbridled sex. Can they control those urges and develop a real, powerful love? (Hey, I usually write paranormal stories. Indulge me.) Or I'm on the grocery check out line and I overhear a line of conversation that intrigues me: "She had to hide the toy from her boyfriend." Hmmm, a sex toy perhaps? She has a secret lover who can only visit her when the boyfriend's out of town. He comes home early one trip and -- well, you know the rest -- or maybe not. My ideas and yours will most certainly differ.
I subscribe to a fantastic list -- "The Archaeology News Weekly" -- that gathers headlines and first paragraphs from all over the world with links to the articles and pictures. For instance, this recent headline:
"Archaeologists Discover ‘Count Dracula's’ Cellar
DigitalJournal [Canada], October 2, 2009
Archaeologists have found a cellar in the university town of Pécs in 
southern Hungary, which they believe to have belonged to Wallachian 
Duke Vlad III, more commonly known as ”Dracula.”
If you write vampire stories, wouldn't this be a great article to explore further? (BTW, there are pictures with this one!) Oh, and here's the link to the group:

Those are just several "places" that prompt story ideas in my mind.
But then what? 
What do you do with those thoughts? That great idea? Where do you keep them? How do you organize them?

I squirrel them away all over the place!
I have a folder in my e-mail that is designated strictly for story ideas and within that folder are sub-folders with different themes/topics. As I go through the various lists, loops and newsletters to which I belong, I'll cull out items that spark ideas or seem like they *should* spark a story idea <g>, move them to a sub-folder or make up a new one and, if I've got an "aha" moment, indicate that in the body of the email. I check them regularly for that certain one that clicks...And that's the one that may be the next wip.
As I'm cruising along the internet checking the headlines, popping over to favorite blogs, going over to lists and loops that I only read online, I'll come across those "sparks" and create a favorite or bookmark it, or pop it into a favorite folder that may already be set up. Again, I check these favorites on a regular basis. I put sites with images for research here and also put the images directly onto my pc. 
My Documents:
For those aha moments that occur during the day when I'm out of the house, I carry a pocket mini-recorder and briefly dictate the thought or I'll record the idea in the car while the dh drives. Later, these will go directly into a folder in my documents on the pc. As in my email, I have sub folders organized with different themes/topics.
I also have a separate folder for music/songs that pop story ideas into my head. This is a pretty thick one since in *real life* I'm a music therapist and singer with degrees in Music Education and Music Therapy. I know a *lot* of music from many different genres. I also of course have CDs and --gasp -- tapes and -- mouth agape -- long-playing records. Music has directly inspired two stories A Song of the Sidhe -- an old Gaelic folk song -- and No One Else on Earth. The title comes from a country and western song. I don't listen to music while I write -- too distracting -- but every time I turned on my country and western station I'd hear another song that fit a character or scene. Here's a link to the page on my website that has the song list
http://jeannebarrack.com/books/no-one-else-on-earth/ BTW, if you're a fan of the TV series, True Blood, you might recognize the song, "Bad Things" sung by Jace Everett as the title song for the series. If you can track down the video of the song as Jace sang it several years back, you'll find it's just as evocative (and sexier) than True Blood title trailer.
My Pictures:
Any picture on the net that strikes that spark goes here. I'm a pretty visual writer. When I do research for stories I'll cull tons of pictures along with descriptions for scenes, clothing, cities, people, food, anything. Since I'm not on flickr or any of the online photo places - don't own a camera! - I make do with saving pictures I find as I surf merrily along. One of my favorite sites is BeautifulMag.
If you like beautiful men this is *the* place to go. OMG!
TV recordings:

I'm sitting here watching "Cities of the Underworld" on the History Channel. This week we're underground in NYC and they're exploring a tunnel built by the Free Masons in 1844 underneath Brooklyn. It is fascinating! Quick, the dvr! Channels like History, Discovery, Biography, NatGeo are on my regular watch and record schedule. Chockfull of ideas and recorded to refer back to later.
Overflow Research:
When I'm researching stories I always find places that offer more information than I might need for that one particular story. In that instance they'll be bookmarked in the specific story folder and also in sub headings. So, while researching the transcontinental railroad for Aftershocks, the sequel to The Sweet Flag that I'm working on, I researched the various towns along the route. All this information went into a folder titled Aftershocks and also a folder marked Trains. Then I saw the title of this article "A Kid in Hell on Wheels" and that article went directly into a separate story idea  folder to be pulled out when needed.

So, that's where I store my ideas all ready to be cracked open when I need them. ;~D


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