April 4, 2022 - So Many Stories, So Little Time

Monday, April 04, 2022

I used to be one of those who wondered where writers got their ideas. It seemed to me it took a lot of work to come up with something worthy of the time and effort to write it.

I still think it’s harder than the blithe statement of some authors that they have ideas all the time. I don’t. But it doesn’t take that many before you have too many to ever write the stories that go with them.

You see, an idea for a story can be just a little thing. Sometimes it’s a setting. For instance, for the past few weeks my mailbox has been filled with solicitations from Arizona non-profit organizations. There’s a special Arizona tax credit for non-profit donations, and you can take it up until filing day rather than having to give the money during the past year. One of those solicitations was from Tohono Chul Park, one of my favorite places in Tucson. And I thought it would make a perfect place for a murder. Originally, I was thinking about a story set at the Botanical Gardens, but it doesn’t have the off-the-beaten-track paths that Tohono Chul does. And as I was thinking about that story, I wished there was a way to have the murder happen at night.

Wait! There is. On one night a year, Tohono Chul is open so people can see the Night Blooming Cereus, a flower that blooms for only one night. The park is very dark at night. There are no lights on most of the paths and you’re cautioned to bring a flashlight so you can see where you’re going. And even better, the Night Blooming Cereus has another name: Queen of the Night. Doesn’t that just give you chills?

Okay, that’s all I’ve got so far, but it’s the kind of idea that even with very little else, I know I want to write.

And then this morning, I was reading through a Kickstarter campaign and trying to figure out whether I wanted to support it or not. This is another one by Dean Wesley Smith, and it’s ostensibly for the next book in his Seeders Universe series, but it’s really a way to encourage people to sign up for his classes. You see, the stretch goals also include getting classes that run for $150-$300 each for only $45 pledged to the Kickstarter. Now, I don’t write science fiction, but the class names all got me thinking that I’d like to. I used to read nothing but SF in my teens and early twenties, and it would be a change of pace from mystery. I was “this close” to donating the money, but when I tried, I couldn’t. The deadline to pledge was over the weekend. My bad.

But I’m still thinking about a science fiction series. I’ve got a bunch of Michio Kaku books, many of which I haven’t read yet, that I know will generate about a million story ideas if I open them up. I mean, how could a book with the title Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel not give you a hundred all on its own?

Which brings up one of my problems. I need to read more to branch out into science fiction or revisit that western/romance/adventure/family saga series I started a couple of years ago. Now, I love research, but I also have to keep publishing books to keep the royalties coming in. And that means writing more of what I’ve already started, not cuddling up with a library of books to read.

Anyway, I finished my words on The Case of the Pirate’s Puzzle today, and now I’ve done my writing diary blog entry, so I should get to some of that reading. Until next time.

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