One of the reasons I try to always have my little notebook (or at least something to write on) with me is you never can tell where inspiration is going to come from. And with me at least, sometimes it’s a multi-step process. Here’s a recent case in point.

I got really interested when I saw the trailers for “Now You See Me.” It looked like a fun heist movie with a great cast. It was a lot of fun, and no, I didn’t steal anything from it. In fact, it’s such a good movie that I was wrong on what they were doing several times. But I liked what I was wrong about. So I wrote it down. Right after the movie, we went to grab some food, and one of my friends ended up completely butchering a word he was trying to say. But I liked that, too. Still later, I was chatting with a different friend, and mentioned I’d always wanted to some kind of heist/con job story, but I’d never had a decent idea about it.

In the course of the conversation, I used a turn of phrase that she seized on. As I sat there gaping like a fool, she elaborated on how the phrase I had used could be the basis of a story. And it was a pretty damn good idea. This friend of mine, despite some amazing ideas, has no interest in being a writer. So, I took her ideas, and the ones I got from the movie, and my friend’s mispronunciation. With a little work, it’s going to be, I think, a decent story. Quite possibly my NaNoWriMo project for this year.

I’m pretty sure I would have lost at least some of that if I didn’t have a way to write it down. And I think the story is stronger with all three pieces from the different places. So, while I’m lucky to have friends that give me ideas, I made a part of my own luck by having a way to take notes.

I’d recommend keeping a way to take notes around. Sure, it can be a pain to make sure it’s with you. But better that than lose that spark that may be a good story. Or take a good story to great.

About the author

Wayland Smith WAYLAND SMITH is the pen name for a native Texan who has lived in Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, and presently makes his home in Virginia. His rather unlikely list of jobs includes private investigator, comic book shop owner, ring crew for a circus (then he ran away from the circus and joined home), deputy sheriff, and freelance stagehand. Wayland is a four time participant in, and survivor of, NaNoWriMo, having made the 50,000 word goal each time. A black belt in shao lin kung fu, he is also a fan of comic books, reading, writing, and various computer games (I”ll shut Civ down in one more turn. Really). He lives with a beautiful woman who was crazy enough to marry him, and a goofy dog with a fondness for peanut butter and white wine.