I’m writing this down so I’ve written it down. Some people have eidetic memories. I have the kind of memory that remembers what I’ve written, at least the general gist of it. (I don’t have to use bookmarks for most books.) The next time I stare at a blank page and try to talk myself into a fit of writer’s block, I’ll flip open the book in which are written USEFUL THINGS TO KNOW AT TIMES LIKE THESE, and I’ll remember:
I’m good at coming up with ideas. The problem is having the sense to know which ones are going to work. It’s like there’s a computer in my head. You turn it on, feed it the data, set the parameters, and let it run. It kicks out crap–sometimes pretty interesting crap–until it finds what it wants, and then it shuts down. (Unless it just keeps running the problem because it’s fun.)
I was trying to come up with an idea for a TV show yesterday, for gaming purposes. I’d have to wait for a pause in the conversation, or just for a moment when it looked like I was going to say something relevant, spit out the idea, and go on with things. So far the one I like is some kind of Shaun of the Dead thing — an office, something terrible happens. Maybe not zombies, probably not cthulu, but we’ll see. Another one that I remember was “something weird happens when you do this one particular thing.” Which could be anything from Dream On to a spy with a fugue state that kicks in every time he finds out something he’s not supposed to know.
Thoughts about TV shows: You need likeable characters and/or characters you like to hate, because people watch TV for the characters rather than the plots. Collary: If you kill off characters without making a BIG STINKING DEAL about it, people won’t watch the show, because they know the writers and producers can’t be trusted. You have to be able to do the same thing over and over again, with interesting variations. (Murder/monster of the week, con of the week, etc.)