Friday, February 19, 2016

Question: Where do you steal your ideas from?

This question must be from someone in the game. And by the game, I mean to fail trying to sound cool while referencing the writing game.

There's an old adage that goes something like, 'Good writers borrow, great writers steal, excellent writers do anal stuff.' It's mostly true, I think. The more you read, process, experiment and produce, the more your influences are going to show up in your work.

Now don't get me wrong. It's not like we sit down and try to right The Strand by Steven Kingsly or anything. Not a single borrow is ever conscious. Think of it this way. You know that question that people ask, 'Where do your ideas come from?' Well, they don't come from fuckin' fairies. They come from everything around you. Everything that you experience, everything you let in, everything that soaks in, everything that goes in your bum. (Sorry. Can't get off this anal train this morning. Yea, I know I'm the conductor, Mom!)

I've had brilliant and original ideas that came from the ether on various occasions in my life. Then a few years later, I'll reread some book or remember an old television show and be all like, 'Shitness. That's where I got that.' It's never anything too blatant, but it does remind you that you're not the god of all creativity, which is a common feeling when you do pull something from your butt.

That butt use was perfectly reasonable, if a bit of a cliché.

There's also something you hear in the comedy world a lot called parallel thinking. Like if you have an idea, especially if it's related to something that flared up in the news and is likely to garner attention, then maybe other people can have a similar idea, if not the same idea. A joke could be written that makes a lot of logical sense, and multiple people could tell that same joke. It doesn't mean anyone's a thief. In my experience, creative people rarely get up and decide to sign someone else's work each morning. If that was the case, we wouldn't all be so fucking stressed out and crazy and drunk all the time. Creativity would be far easier.

Short Answers: Names are my crutch. I'll bust out an on the spot character name and then realize I got it from the back of a cereal box and a package of candy or something. But that's not to say that Prize Inside Mentos isn't a strong character. She is.

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