Monday, November 14, 2011

There's Always Something to Learn from Rowling, Right?

Everyone's heard the story of Harry Potter's birth -- the train ride, the cafe, all that jazz.  Right?  By now, it's morphed into something of a legend.  And sometimes you have to be careful with legends, becayse it's easy to lose the moral of the story in them.

    I mean, I'm not a huge fan of morals in stories -- not obvious ones, anyway.  All too often, they ruin the story, and we can't have that.  Still, J.K.'s lesson has a pretty important point in it:

    Always have something with you to write on, and always write your ideas down, no matter how stupid or inconsequential those ideas might seem.
    It doesn't matter if you're writing on paper, a McDonald's sack, your hand (or arm, for those massive, detailed ideas), or typing it out on a cell phone.  (For the record, if you don't have a pen or notepad app, I learned a couple of years ago that you can text yourself.  This also means explaining to others why you have yourself saved in your contacts, but whatever.)  Anywho.  Most writers always have portable means to write with; I don't really need to say much about that part.

    Back to that "no matter how stupid or inconsequential" bit I mentioned earlier.  You know those tiny thoughts that sometimes flit through your subconscious -- the ones that don't make much sense, or seem incredibly random, or not even slightly important?  Like "Taj Mahal" or "death by elevator shaft" or "what if..."?  Probably a good idea to write those down, too.  You never know when one of those thoughts could connect with something else, some bigger, and turn into your next Big Idea. 

    There's nothing worse than having some almost-memory tickle the edges of your brain, only to realize you've forgotten what that oh-so-wizard idea was.

    So what about you?  What's the oddest string of words you've ever written down as an idea trigger?  Have you ever had one of those random thoughts merge with a bigger-scale idea? 


Alistar of Woodland said...

Actually, that is how most of my stories form. A random thought flits through my mind, and if I take a liking to it, another half-formed idea like it pops up a while later. Eventually, I connect those to get the basics of a plot. Kind of weird, I suppose. But it works for me. :)

Lisa Gail Green said...

Yes yes and yes!! Great advice. I like to fit things together like puzzle pieces. Always so fun to see how my subconscious does it.

Lynda R Young said...

The number of times I come up with an idea and think it's so great I wouldn't forget it. Doh! If I don't write it down, I WILL forget. I don't know why I have to keep re-learning that lesson.

Imogen said...

I have intersecting ideas all the time. I've also got hundreds of ideas written down and floating in my head. I'm lucky in that I have a fairly good memory.

Jenna Blake Morris said...

Alistar -- It might be weird (I don't think it is, can't tell for sure, since I'm probably biased)but I do it the same way. (:

Lisa -- I love the puzzle analogy!

Lynda -- Ah, I hate that. Same here. Sometimes I think I'll never learn...

Imogen -- Definitely lucky! And "intersecting" is the perfect word for it, I think.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've started keeping notes on my iPod Touch. I think my strangest note would be: Sperm Whale insult :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Most definitely. I've used my iPod Touch like Jemi does (if I have it with me) or any piece of paper I can find. I've even written notes on my legs while running. Fortunately I expected a lot of ideas would hit me that day so I brought a pen with me. :D

The Director said...

I wrote some stuff in my own weird version of shorthand once on a scrap of paper from church-- and now I have NO IDEA what it says.... *headdesk*

Besides that incident, though, I actually write down pretty coherent notes. I'm trying to learn a few different languages though (Welsh and Japanese- yeah, I know, random.) so eventually I can write my notes in "code" xD

Anonymous said...

Totally irrelevant, but -
I'm so glad you like Jasper =D
~ Mirriam

Anonymous said...

Totally irrelevant, but -
I'm so glad you like Jasper =D
~ Mirriam

Jenna Cooper said...

I recently watched an (old) biography on JKR and she really did write everything down! It was amazing to see all of the papers and random bits she had.
And thanks for the great reminder to keep notes for ourselves!

Christina Farley said...

I always am thinking of new ideas and I keep a little blurb on each idea. Then I sit down when I'm ready to tackle another project and think about which one moves me the most. Then I write it!

The Story Queen said...

I swear, I want to cover my walls with paper and walk around with pens attached to my hands so I can just write whenever something strikes me.

Also, your title rocks. That is all.


Jenna Blake Morris said...

Jemi -- Haha! I mean, I have no idea what your other notes are like, but I have to agree about that one winning. Aren't the weirdest insults the best ones, though?

Stina -- Whoa. I've heard stories about writing up the arm before, but legs? Impressive. Good thing you had that pen!

Director -- Eesh, that stings. I'd love to learn Welsh! :D I adore their words, even if I can't make sense of any of them. And writing in code is such a wizard idea!

Mirriam -- Definitely! He sounds like my favorite kind of villain. And his dialogue was brilliant. (:

Jenna -- I bet the biography was awesome to watch! The only Oprah episode I've ever actually watched was her interview with J.K. Naturally, with the Rowling factor, it was wizard. (Eek. No pun intended. This is me wincing.)

Christina -- I love your blurb idea!

Story Queen/Sonia -- That. Idea. Is. Amazing. My mind is blown. You should totally do that, haha! It might take a while, but you'd have the best wallpaper in the world.

So technically, your comment is what rocks. (;

Rachelle said...

Answer to that second-to-last question: definitely the 100 words round at GTW where I won first place. Haunting first line: I was finally beginning to feel like the Princess I wasn't supposed to be.

Thanks for your beautiful comment on my blog yesterday! It made me smile so big! :)