The Birth of a Story Idea...or a Two-Headed Dragon
|Victoria in one of her creative moments.|
The number of possible answers to this question probably exceeds the number of people writing stories. Ideas develop from several common sources, but how they transfer into a story idea, for me at least, is almost impossible to map.
Take this recent conversation I had with my granddaughter as an example:
Victoria: Did you know lizards can lose their tails?
Me: I think I knew it, but then it might be because you've been talking about it.
Victoria: I saw a video of a dog chasing a lizard. He tried to bite its tail, and the lizard dropped its tail and ran away. (She giggled) The tail was wriggling.
Me: Chickens do that.
Me: When you chop off a chicken's head, its body will keep running around. That's why they say "running around like a chicken with its head chopped off."
Victoria: The dog didn't chase the lizard because it was barking at the tail.
Me: That's its protection mechanism. God made it able to drop its tail and get away while the tail wriggles and distracts the predator.
Victoria: The lizard grows back its tail. Wouldn't it be cool if we could do that like lizards or starfish or an octopus?
Me: Yeah, that would be neat.
Victoria: One thing you can't grow back though is a head. If they cut off the head, you're dead.
Victoria: Unless you're a dragon in a movie and you cut off the head and two grow back. Then you cut off those heads and three grow back, then four, then five. What if it grew a thousand heads back?
Me: (laughing) That would be crazy.
Victoria: (sitting straight up with her arms by her side and neck stretched upward) It wouldn't be able to move if it had a thousand heads. All the necks would get in the way.
Do you see the strange paths this conversation took? That's how a story idea happens. You start with something and then your mind goes off on slightly related tangents that lead to more tangents and more until you have something completely different...like a dragon with 1000 heads.