Out of Reach

The WordPress Daily Prompt for Thursday sounded interesting:

Write about the one X that got away — a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?

Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have a very dramatic “one that got away” story, but the ones that get away from me every single day are still frustrating: story ideas. They like to appear in that half-asleep/half-awake state just before you finally drift off or just before you wake up. When they appear, they’re so intriguing that you think you’ll remember them. You might even repeat the idea in your head several times until it becomes like a jumble of random words you’ve jotted down on a sticky note with no context behind it. So if you do happen to remember it later, it makes no sense.

It’s easier to remember a sudden idea when you’re fully conscious but in a place or situation when you cannot write (in the shower, while driving), but these ideas do not come with the same force as the “twilight” ideas of half-consciousness. On the plus side, they usually make more sense and can be easily integrated into a story.

Still, you can’t rely on a continual supply of these ideas to keep popping up unexpectedly. The best way to court these ideas and get inspired is to keep writing. You can’t wait for the muse to strike, or you’ll be waiting forever.

3 thoughts on “Out of Reach

  1. “You can’t wait for the muse to strike, or you’ll be waiting forever.”

    Yup. Writing = ass + chair. This is generally understood about playing a musical instrument, for example, but for some reason people think of writing as being different (I’ve done both — the small differences are far outweighed by the similarities).

    Speaking of the one that got away — I like my first novel quite a bit, but for me it’s sort of a gallery of “the ones that got away,” since three of the characters are based on two women who “got away,” In one later story I was going to write a scene where the guy, around 20 years later, sees the woman again and they don’t recognize each other, but it would have been bad for the story to shoehorn that scene in.


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