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(Times Union)   "The search for good ideas" - Where are all of the good writing ideas?   ( blog.timesunion.com) divider line
    More: Amusing, Blog, New York Times, great thought-provoking prompts, ideas, people, argumentative writing, Writing, Times Union blog  
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208 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 11 Sep 2017 at 12:50 PM (13 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-09-11 11:34:16 AM  
Reading requires a commitment and many people have commitment issues. It's tough to hook them for much more than a few paragraphs confirming their world view these days.
 
2017-09-11 01:15:35 PM  
I dunno if it's really that difficult to find good ideas, just unique ones.
 
2017-09-11 01:31:16 PM  
One possible source is other books - specifically the ones that seemed interesting enough for you to buy and (try to) read, but that turned out to miss all the possibilities you saw in the concept.

Shakespeare mostly re-wrote older stories, and I've heard good things about him.

/don't plagiarize, though.
 
2017-09-11 01:32:45 PM  
Liquor.

That will help.
 
2017-09-11 01:56:39 PM  

edmo: Reading requires a commitment and many people have commitment issues. It's tough to hook them for much more than a few paragraphs confirming their world view these days.


Mark Teaches Jez How To Read - Peep Show
Youtube rn22UlVdpw0


"You probably feel like looking away from the page now, don't you?"
"I do!"
"Don't look away."
 
2017-09-11 02:06:27 PM  
When I was a kid we used to drive two hours to visit my grandparents. We both lived in suburban east-coast neighborhoods not entirely dissimilar from each other. However, there was always something foreign about it and I never got over that feeling - no matter how many times we visited.

I wondered if my grandparents felt the same way when visiting my house. Maybe it was the difference in a wooded lot vs bare. Or maybe it was because our front door faced south and theirs faced west. Regardless, I would sometimes look out the window as we drove through my own neighborhood and try and feel how it my grandparents would feel. I wanted to see if I could make such a familiar place seem foreign.

I go though a similar exercise when I'm trying to create something ex nihilo. I know me. I know how I see things and how they appear to me and that's not surprising or exciting in a vacuum. I need to know why things happen or are outside of me. So, I try and see it as foreign and not-entirely-known with that same feeling I had when I was a kid. And, it seems to work for me.

/don't know if that's helpful
/you could also backpack through Alaska/Europe/Appalachia
/three
 
2017-09-11 02:31:06 PM  
WW2 and the Holocaust blew High Art to smithereens. There are no good ideas.
 
2017-09-11 02:41:15 PM  
According to some movie I started last night, a drunken, drugged, furiously masturbating Harry Potter has them all. And then his boyfriend dumped him for Jack Kerouac.
 
2017-09-11 02:47:24 PM  
The problem isn't a lack of good ideas. When you think about, you can categorize pretty much every story, every TV show, and every movie into a relatively small list of premises. The Bond movies are basically a hero saves the world series of films. The Lord of the Rings is a lengthy quest/adventure. Harry Potter is coming of age.

What's the difficult part is making a time-honored, well-worn trope sound interesting. Shakespeare, as mentioned earlier, borrowed from old histories and other sources. He was a genius at making them sound brand new and exciting with characterization and dialogue that added a human element to history. Sure, everyone has heard a tragic love story, but Shakespeare put in bawdy wordplay, swordfighting, and memorable quotations. He did it better.

And the other hard part is getting the words on the paper. Everyone has ideas, but very few do anything with them.
 
2017-09-11 02:50:36 PM  
Trapped in my head, unable to make it on to the page.
 
2017-09-11 03:17:06 PM  

eyeq360: When you think about, you can categorize pretty much every story, every TV show, and every movie into a relatively small list of premises.

This argument passed on through the years as wisdom is just an exercise in taxonomy.  I mean, yes, you can do it.  But this says. . . what, exactly?  I can also classify books as fiction or non-fiction, which in fact bookstores and libraries do.  Or organize them alphabetically by title.  In terms of understanding the endless diversity of literature, that they can be broadly categorized is a meaningless observation.

There's a shortage of "good" writing ideas because the market has figured out that what audiences want and what they will pay for are two different things.  50 Shades is smut -- it's not even good smut -- yet it's a bestseller of natural disaster proportions.  Much better stuff has fallen out of print for lack of sales.  In other words, no demand.  It takes a fool to prepare steaks endeavoring for perfection when everyone is actively eschewing them for pink slimeburgers.

/ I am that fool
 
2017-09-11 03:18:43 PM  

dragonchild: the market has figured out that what audiences say they want and what they will pay for are two different things.

FTFM.  You see this in film, as well.  Everyone's whining that Hollywood is avoiding original ideas, but sequels & remakes consistently dominate the box office.
 
2017-09-11 06:16:51 PM  

eyeq360: The problem isn't a lack of good ideas. When you think about, you can categorize pretty much every story, every TV show, and every movie into a relatively small list of premises. The Bond movies are basically a hero saves the world series of films. The Lord of the Rings is a lengthy quest/adventure. Harry Potter is coming of age.

What's the difficult part is making a time-honored, well-worn trope sound interesting. Shakespeare, as mentioned earlier, borrowed from old histories and other sources. He was a genius at making them sound brand new and exciting with characterization and dialogue that added a human element to history. Sure, everyone has heard a tragic love story, but Shakespeare put in bawdy wordplay, swordfighting, and memorable quotations. He did it better.

And the other hard part is getting the words on the paper. Everyone has ideas, but very few do anything with them.


I would paraphrase this, thesaurusize it, make it my own, but there's no real reason to.  Just take a great story and make it your own.  There are a fairly small number of stories - less than a couple dozen - out there; just pick one and make your own Art Car out of it.
 
2017-09-11 06:29:08 PM  
The problem isn't writers, it's Hollywood execs.

The same old schmucks are still running Hollywood. That's why you keep seeing remakes. It's like "Hey, this made me money 20 years ago. I'll do it again!"
 
2017-09-11 06:56:00 PM  

doglover: The problem isn't writers, it's Hollywood execs.

The same old schmucks are still running Hollywood. That's why you keep seeing remakes. It's like "Hey, this made me money 20 years ago. I'll do it again!"


The older schmucks had their eye on money, but at the same time, respected the artistic side of the industry.  Then they passed away or handed it over to a set of executives and corporations that didn't really care about the artistic side, and took fewer chances, living by the rule, "Nothing succeeds like success."  That's been the rule for about forty years now.
 
2017-09-11 08:47:16 PM  

Billy Liar: doglover: The problem isn't writers, it's Hollywood execs.

The same old schmucks are still running Hollywood. That's why you keep seeing remakes. It's like "Hey, this made me money 20 years ago. I'll do it again!"

The older schmucks had their eye on money, but at the same time, respected the artistic side of the industry.  Then they passed away or handed it over to a set of executives and corporations that didn't really care about the artistic side, and took fewer chances, living by the rule, "Nothing succeeds like success."  That's been the rule for about forty years now.


Longer than that, if you go back. It's always been a ballance of artists and suits, even before celluloid.

But in my particular case, 40 years is more than a lifetime. When I say the same schmucks, I mean the second generation you're refering to.
 
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