The Idea Factory

The Idea Factory. Sounds like a magical place, right? A place where a writer can settle in and start picking out new ideas for stories.  Yeah, that’s about right.  The only thing is, I don’t recall asking to visit and now it seems that I have been locked in.

And I want out.

(Wait for the explanation before you yell at me.  What are you complaining about?  Ideas for new stories are great. Indeed they are.  But…)

Two weeks ago, my goals for closing out 2009 were fairly simple.  Finally finish Broken Skies and maybe once again try my hand at National Novel Writing Month.  And if a few short stories squeaked out of me between now and the end of December, well, that would be an added bonus.

But then the ideas started to trickle in.  This is good and bad for several reasons.  Please try your best to follow along (and keep arms within the car at all times).


  • After much struggling, I know now how Broken Skies will end.  I am temporarily putting The Masks of Our Fathers on hold and picking Broken Skies back up.  I fully intend to have it finished by mid-September.
  • In trying to sort out the mess that is likely going to be the climatic scene in The Masks of Our Fathers, my brain went down a very morbid rabbit trail.  I somehow went from this Shirley Jackson-esque scene to something that sounds as if Lovecraft mixed it up.  And in that, a whole new novel concept was created.  I have decided to hold off on it and save it for NaNoWriMo.  So I already have my story for the daunting month of November.
  • Out of nowhere, the oddly sized story I mentioned two weeks ago sorted itself out.  I am only 1,700 words into it and while I don’t expect it to break 15,000 words, I have the entire thing mapped out now.  It’s just a matter of willing myself to write what is probably going to be about 10,000 words of nothing but dialogue (I blame Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged).


  • I really need to figure out what I’m going to do with the Hell on Earth series.
  • Blood Routes needs to be finished.
  • There are only 24 hours in the day, most of which are consumed by work and family.
  • I do not possess a time-freezing device.

So yes, I feel as if I am trapped in the Idea Factory and am being tortured in very peculiar ways (think the “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition” sketch from Monty Python).  However, most of these ideas seem warm and friendly, if not a little uninvited and foreboding.

The edge has been taken off a bit though, for tonight sees the return of Destination Truth!



  1. I dig it, Barry. My own “to edit” and “to complete” folders are stuffed to overfull while my “complete” folder is… lacklustre. Not to mention I have pages and pages of “ideas” and “bitties” that need their own story or deserve to be squeezed in somewhere.

    I suppose we should be grateful that we don’t have writer’s block, but I think that, like you, I would be much more thankful for a time freezing device.

    Let me know if you find a vendor.


  2. I’m sending a time-freezing device across the Atlantic. If it doesn’t go on the fritz between here and there it should be with you in 10 minutes or 10,000 years. Tricky things time-freezers.

  3. You know, that does sound incredibly mad. It’s supposed to be a blessing to have such a fertile and active imagination for a writer, but when you’re already trying to get a stranglehold on the ideas you had a year ago, it can get a little, er, cacophonous. Best of luck, and for what little good it does, we’re cheering for you.

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