Ideas: A Spotter’s Guide

Toilet drinker.

Hey, I think I see an idea down here! No…wait…(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Midnight Special: Only comes out in the small hours, usually when you wake up to take a piss. Seems like a winner but daylight examination reveals it to be either a mutant construct of leftover dreams, or completely non-sensical: “Toast with wings! Brilliant!”

The Space Walker: Appears in the blank middle distance into which you stare over breakfast, over coffee, while other people are talking, while driving (stop doing that). Sometimes worthwhile, but sometimes can only exist in the vacuum of thought-space. May explosively decompress once removed from it.

The Chameleon: Great ideas that you get really excited about for a couple of hours before realizing that it sounds kind of familiar, and remembering that you read that book last week. Heartbreakers.

The 4:20 Express: Only appears under the influence, and is often the cause of much hilarity for sober bystanders when you try to explain why you think aardvarks should be able to read minds. Or maybe they already can. (Also known as the Five Pint Flash.)

The Bigfoot: Makes you stop whatever you’re doing (reading, gaming, directing pornography) and scramble to write it down before it gets away. Appears briefly and then is gone forever unless caught.

The Appendix: Interesting but useless. Sometimes end up being turned into flash fiction, sometimes get infected and have to be removed with knives lest they taint everything else in your head.

The Siren: The one you think about while you should be working on something else. Sexy, new, and does things your current story would never dream of, but be wary. Maybe be an Appendix in disguise, and your current story won’t take you back.

The Bad Sushi: Keeps coming back, no matter how many times you try to forget about it. Despite the initially poisonous appearance, can be worth taking a second look at. Or a third. Or a seventh. God damn it, leave me alone!

The Golem: Created in response to an event (an assignment, an anthology call, a submission guideline) and remains inert until given the spark of life. But when that happens, watch out, because those things have legs.

The Rube Goldberg: You see one thing, which pings off something in your head, which sets off a chain reaction, and before you know it you have a trilogy about space badgers planned out. End result in no way indicative of the initial reaction.

The Alley Cat: Skittish and wary, has to be coaxed out from under the porch. But can be totally worthwhile if you put in the effort. Or might just crap on your doormat.

The Monster Under The Bed: Not sure where it came from, but one day you look and it’s there. You can’t turn your back on it. You can’t ignore it. And you know it’ll be there as soon as you close your eyes. Because it’s hungry. And it wants something from you.

The Forest Fire: Started by something as small as a cigarette, now it destroys everything in its path. Run fast and stay ahead, and cherish the rush of raw creativity.


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