Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Importance of Capturing the Spark

Laying in bed the other night I was suddenly struck by what seemed an extremely cool idea for a story, so, as I've read I should, I grabbed my iPhone from the nightstand and jotted it down as a note for later.

This is what I wrote,
Soul sipper soul light
Flicker of detectable flame of life of magic user. One is dead steady black flame, etc
Illegal to sip souls, addicted to it was a game for rebellious youth. Now killer...
When I read it now I can only guess what was meant by "etc" or the ellipsis "...". The moment of clarity has long passed. Aside from the obviously vague items, most of this takes a fair amount of reconstruction and imagination to turn into anything useful, and yet it's enough to spark a creative process down a pathway my mind has been once before. The ideas may be terrible, cliche and tired, or impractical for a story of any real length but I certainly can see the value in capturing a moment's creative spark for later.

This got me thinking of the Moleskine I had carried around last year during my writing classes and writing experiments. Hadn't I kept a section as a journal of story and scene ideas? Once I had its leathery cover in my hands and had removed the elastic binding, I flipped it open to the very back and amongst others found these little dusty turds.
A battle or ritual with Prime Evil leaves a mark. Protag now struggling to fight [Prime Evil] climactically discovers the evil is inside him and was all that time. Becomes blured borders between identities IE. Horror Harry Potter

Data heist from High Security data centre, no one expected physical attack, Maybe Botnet DDOS misdirect attack (paid some kid/fallguy)

Encryption with a human key/cipher. Either genetic or something taught/learned.

Maybe nothing special there but some things to get me thinking. Flipping around I found the Scene Ideas/Chance Moments sections and was truly struck by some of the scenes I had seen in my real life or imagined.

Teens raving about "Bees! Bees! They are really important. If they die we die."

Two super goths [Editor's note: I don't know proper terminology] as a couple, him an Alice Cooper, her female Marilyn Manson (eyebrows shaved painted white with drawn eyebrows) and between them, cute normal little girl in My Little Pony clothes. [their daughter]

Near office buildings gust of wind catches yellowed leaves of branches and they dance in a column through the intersection catching the sun and turning into Golden Dancers in the middle of the air over the busy, distracted masses.

Elderly man waiting forlornly, solemnly, at a set chess table in the library/park no longer waiting for an opponent who will never arrive again. Staring at me.
As I read those now, some of them seem interesting, and some of them strike me deeply as I remember exactly what I had seen or imagined. Each of them could help break a spell of writer's block or be included to flesh out an otherwise mundane scene.

If nothing else, these captured little sparks of creativity and observation, so hastily preserved in ink like so much dinosaur DNA in amber, have prompted me to finally break the multi-month draught of postings on this blog. And that alone is proof of the importance of capturing the spark.


  1. Several things come t mind as I read this, first being that you think REALLY differently then I do. It's as if you're mind is showing you a small piece of a really detailed movie. I think that's the most interesting thing about this post, it's insight into how your mind works.

    I also thought that your horror Harry Potter idea was sort of similar to "The Magicians" by Lev Grossman, if you through in a bastardization of Tolkien and C.S Lewis. (Proof there is a market for what you want to write, just saying).

  2. Wow, just noticed my last comment is FULL of misspellings and incorrect word use. Wow. That's terrible.