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The Mad Author
Jean Tennant

SOURCES OF IDEAS

Posted Friday, March 18, 2011, at 8:28 AM
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  • Jean,

    Your blog makes me smile. I actually have a good friend that grew up in Friend, NE. :) And..I agree with you - ideas are everywhere! I have many ideas floating around in my head for more books. As you know, many of them come from my childhood or from things my girls do. I simply write what I know.

    -- Posted by lesliemeans on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 2:19 PM
  • Like Leslie I grew up in a small community named, Cando, N.D.,

    I've always assumed with imagination and work that 'can-do' becomes a reality working toward success. I observed the people in the Cando community subcribe to Can-Do with a positive attitude that is observed by others.

    Does anyone know a community that has succeeded named, Fear?

    Names influence our behavior, individually and wholly. -------Friend, NE. I like that.

    -- Posted by wordgardener on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 4:39 PM
  • Ideas are everywhere, like leslie says,and I have new ones all the time, but how do I know which ones to use now? And what do I do with the ones I want to save for later?

    And could your blog be in the paper edition of the paper too? My mother and aunt live in the Spencer area but don't like to read it on the computer, they'd rather read a column in the newspaper. (Old school - I'm trying to get them to catch up with the times.)

    -- Posted by jjleighton on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 9:14 AM
  • How to know which ideas to use now?

    Go with whichever ideas are speaking to you the loudest. There's sure to be one that stands out from the others, that seems most persistent.

    You could, of course, be working on more than one idea at a time. I do. I usually have two or three projects going at any given time. However, if you're a beginner I recommend that you work on only one project at a time. Finish it, then go on to the next one. Sometimes just finishing a writing project is the hardest part - it's so easy to get distracted!- and if you scatter yourself too much you'll end up with a bunch of half-finished stories.

    What do you do with the ideas you want to save for later?

    Ah, that's where your Ideas File comes in. And that will be the subject of my next blog.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 7:25 PM
  • As far as this blog being in the print edition of the paper... the nature of a blog is that it's online, and while I realize that's not always convenient for everyone, it's probably easier on the blog-writer.

    Right now my schedule is such that I don't know if I could commit to producing a weekly column. I'd hate to start something only to find I couldn't finish it on schedule, so please bear with me for now...and encourage your mother and aunt to give online reading another chance.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 7:36 PM
  • A town named Fear...I Googled it and came up only with Cape Fear. But it sounds like another story idea to me.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 7:37 PM
  • Can I use a real town in my novel, like Spirit Lake? What if people don't like it, can they sue me? I see New York and other cities used all the time in books, even though the characters are all made up.

    -- Posted by farmergirl.sp on Thu, Mar 24, 2011, at 3:46 PM
  • Jean...Thank you for searching and finding Cape Fear.

    I'll file the name for future use.

    Cape Fear sounds so "dark and foggy and full of mystery." Wonderful.

    Wordgardener

    -- Posted by wordgardener on Thu, Mar 24, 2011, at 8:43 PM
  • As far as using the name of a real town in a novel... go for it. Peter Davidson (Dave Peterson) of Arnolds Park did it with his novels "Okoboji" and "Murder in Okoboji." In his case he used real people as well, for the secondary characters. The hero and heroine of the stories were fictional.

    But if you're going to depict a real town in a work of fiction in a very negative light, my choice would be to fictionalize the name of the town as well. While it's unlikely anyone would sue, why incur the wrath of the townspeople?

    -- Posted by JTennant on Fri, Mar 25, 2011, at 8:23 AM
  • "Cape Fear" was also the name of a movie, made twice, with Robert Mitchum as the villain in the first version and Robert DeNiro in the second. It was a pretty good movie both times, and definitely creepy.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Fri, Mar 25, 2011, at 8:27 AM
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