The Simple Habit That Gets You Endless Ideas Right Now

anatomy

I’m trawling for errors in my fantasy series. Here, I will qualify: I made many deliberate foiblings stylistically, in The Eastern Slave Series, because the entire story is a drawn-out trap meant to erode a practiced writer’s internal blocks, and strip away their energy malfunctions, but there are sprinklings, here and there, of typographical errors that I am in the process of scrubbing away.

Have You Ever Written Deliberate Errors, Stylistically?

My work does not generally come with typos, but it is another matter entirely when one creates a morass of rage-inducing stylistic slips. In that case, it is a matter of removing just enough mud, while leaving filth behind. Stylistically speaking, of course.

Your Book Is Dirty? Really?

I will here say, once again, that I cannot bring myself to read contemporary fantasy works. I cannot do it. I have tried and failed to embrace anything written past, oh, I don’t know, the last five years or so. My whole being revolts from the consumption of the stuff. Here, I will say what I mean in plain English: modern fantasy writing sucks.

That’s Awfully Negative, Victor Poole

Now that I’ve offended my entire readership, I shall talk to myself. I started noticing that fantasy books were really lousy when I was in my childhood library, looking over some things in the adult section of fiction (most of that section was fantasy and historical fiction). There was a book there, co-written by a famous man, and I remember reading it and sighing when every hard piece of magic worked by the protagonist was the most painful, difficult thing he had ever done! Every time he did magic in the book it was a scene with the highest stakes! He almost died! Failure was right there with him! Arg!

Constant High-Level Stakes Create A Flat Landscape

Another book that I picked up in my university’s light reading section was about a lawyer who slipped into a fantasy realm, and there was a lady character who routinely bared her boobs and then had introspective, Hamlet-esque speeches where she reflected on the misfortune of her being born an attractive woman.

But It’s Hard Being A Woman! Many Of Them Say So!

Another book I read in the last ten years was about a pair of magical investigators who gradually fell in love with each other, despite the male counterpart’s consistent whoring and verbal abuse.

You Just Aren’t Reading The Good Stuff, Victor

The last piece of fantasy I tried to read was an RPG-lit book. I got partway through the first chapter. That was last summer. I suppose it is inaccurate to say “tried;” I try to read fantasy all the time. Just yesterday I revved myself up, once again, to go spelunking through the depths of the Zon to find some inspirational fantasy. Just look at the best-sellers, I tell myself. Go and learn from the people who are already successful, I say to me.

Everyone Says You Have To Read; I Read Shakespeare

Me doesn’t listen to my fervent exhortations, which are, admittedly, growing fainter over the years. Mind you, I’m not supposed to be saying things like this, because it’s obviously bad manners to tell everyone who likes fantasy that their favorite genre has been degrading steadily over the last however many decades. But it has been degrading steadily. In my estimation.

You’re Stupid, Victor Poole!

Ironically, or perhaps predictively, fantasy film work is getting better as the written word degrades. I will tell you the reason for this contrast, and you will not believe me, because I am yet, in the public estimation of my peers, a nobody. Professional actors, by dint of their work, live purely, and generously. They live, funnily enough, after the manner of the stories of old, according to honor and faith. I know you won’t believe me; no one but Shakespeare and the ancient Greeks ever understood actors properly.

Well, Aren’t You Keen On Yourself, Victor!

But the downgraded quality of fantasy fiction, when it is adapted to film, is redeemed almost entirely by the internal integrity of the actors who work on the project. They supply the honor, the faith, and the pure romance that are required for genuine fantasy to function.

Here’s The Actionable Part

Now, if you have made it this far (congratulations), here is a simple habit that will present to your writerly mind an endless stream of vivid images, storylines, and characters.

Find You, As A Location

Imagine yourself as a point on a map. All your life, people have been telling you that you’re wrong, that you’re too young, or too stupid, or just plain wrong-headed about the great truths of life. Because of the unanimity of these voices, you have given away trying to see things from this isolated point on the map, the essential beginning spark of your inner self. In essence, you’ve willingly blinded yourself to what you see and everything you know. Because shutting up and going along was easier than fighting back against the whole world. Understandable, but detrimental to your creative work.

You Are The Middle Point

Picture this point on the map, this center of your volitional self, and close your eyes. Now, try this: Tell yourself, with perfect sobriety, that you might be right about everything. What if you were right, and everyone else was wrong? What if the things that matter to you are actually the most important things? What if the people you care about are the most vital people? What if you are, in fact, the center of all things?

Make Yourself The Most Important

The more you thrust yourself into this metaphorical spotlight, the more ideas and visions of fiction works will appear spontaneously to you, because as you approve and condone of your own internal perception, your subconscious and conscious mind will present to you a series of powerful images and stories, characters and symbols, and you will find yourself compelled to write down what you see and hear.

Writing As An Exorcism Of Pain

You will put down what you see and what you feel, because the stories will burn in you, and writing will become a creative exercise that heals your pain, and brings solace to your empty parts of self.

Examples

Bad Writing:

Vikera snuck a pouch of wine into her belongings; the quartermaster would never know. She had no story prepared to cover her theft; it was a thing she refused to think of. She would not lie, and if she was cast out when caught, she would at last have found the depths she believed herself to deserve.

Vikera hated herself, because her mother had discarded her, and her loving relationship with wine replaced the home she had never known.

Vikera had far too many concurrent relationships with the men in her garrison, and she was far too sloppy around the women who followed behind the army.

Good Writing:

Vikera was not a drunk, but it was easier to numb the edge of her awareness with the idea of alcohol. She had not achieved a buzz for months now; not since the garrison left Greth.

She told herself she was dissolute, and she put the swallow of drunkenness against the verge of her throat, to add coherency to her story. Her smile came too easily, and her neck had that slope of a body that has abandoned itself to a slow death. The truth was that she grew tired of life as an army whore, without the dignity of the name.  Drinking was a shield, a diversion for the men she slept with. If she did not tell herself to drink, she might have started to kill.

Ideas Come From Inside Your Perception Of Reality

You are the only source you have; never will you succeed in leeching close enough to any other energy pump to produce original material that throbs and flows. You have yourself; make yourself a well-spring of ideas, and value what you feel and what you perceive. Your work will improve in direct correlation to your investment and valuation of yourself.

You’re reading Victor Poole. If you want to read the dirty version, buy it now. Wednesday is like the camel-hump of the workweek.

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