April 5, 2009

Story triggers 101

One of my friends asked me the other day about what gets me started sitting at the machine and writing. I tried to tell her that the sitting and typing was not the first thing that happened during the process. So I’m setting this down to try and clarify even in my own mind what triggers a burst of creativity.

First there is the trigger incident. For me this generally occurs when I am in what I consider my muse, New York City. I see someone or something and a story starts in my head. Why are they where they are? Why are they doing what they are doing? This story probably bears no resemblance to reality. If it actually did I think I would begin to need help.

One short story I wrote started when I saw a woman wearing what appeared to be only a black plastic bag curled up on the sidewalk next to a stone pillar of a building on 5th Avenue. First I noticed her, then I began to think of the circumstances that brought her there and then she began to talk to me. No, I don’t hear voices. Then again, maybe I do. The fantasy character in my head begins to tell me her story and it is at this point that I have to write it down or lose it.

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