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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Beware the Three-Eyed Frog

What do evil three-eyed frogs, giant mutant disc-shaped frogs, and writing have in common?

No -- seriously. What do they have in common?

Usually, my dreams are so freaky-weird and movie-like that to interpret them one would have to be either exceptionally gifted (a Joseph-esque figure, if you will) or high on some exotic drug. For example: I recently had a dream in which two people were fighting off an army of skeletons, and the only way to kill these skeletons was to burn either their skull or a rib bone. Or: The characters from Aladdin and I were scaling a wall with anti-gravity shoe strings. Yep. Anti-gravity shoe strings. You can only imagine the terrors that followed that escapade.

So when my dreams develop noticeable patterns and/or themes, I take notice, because it usually means they aren't insanely well-plotted. Or they are insanely well-plotted, they just have meaning.

Twice this year I have had a dream involving -- you guessed it -- frogs. But not just any frogs. Nope. The first frogs to grace my sleeping subconscious were evil frogs who were trying to remove my eyes to implant an extra eye in each of themselves. Because once frogs get three eyes, they become magical. (Who knew, right?)

The second frogs to hop into my blissfully sleeping brain were frisbee-shaped mutant frogs the size of manhole covers. To move, they slid over the ground like hovercars. (The next great mode of transportation: quick, cheap, and both ecologically and literally green.)

My question is: well, actually, I have a lot of questions, but only one that relates all this nonsense to writing.

How does a story get you to notice it?

When you're coming up with the next great novel idea, does it just hit you one day and it's love at first sight? Or is it a slow process where it comes to you again and again, and you don't really notice it until it's a reoccuring idea? Do you wait for the metaphorical mutant frogs to attack repeatedly, or do you grab onto them the moment they hop into your mind? For the sake of your safety/sanity, I hope you don't grab the mutant frogs at all. But you get what I'm saying.

(BTW: That little picture creeps me out so much I can't actually look at it. Sorry if it creeps you out too. Ewww three-eyed frogs; I shudder to think what magical powers they get from that extra eye...)


Unknown said...

Lol! This is great- your dreams sound fun. :)

Hmm, how does a story get me to notice it?

I think most of my ideas just hit me (more like knock me upside the head and demand that I pay attention). Occasionally if I know what direction I want to go in I will work with an idea from scratch until it is fully formed.

Like, if I wanted to write an epic fantasy I would start forming the rules to the fantasy world, then the characters and how they interact with the world, then the conflict in the world that brings them together and stirs things up.

Natalie Whipple said...

Ah, you're dreams sound just about as awesome as mine.

So, how do I notice a story? Usually the character won't SHUT UP. They just keep poking at me until I'm FORCED to write them down. Pushy little punks.

Current poker? An invisible girl. Not kidding. She's a hoot.

lisa and laura said...

Umm...EEW! Seriously. Just, EEW!

We're definitely on the simmer side of the idea equation. We usually get an idea, talk about it a little. Forget it for a while. Talk about it some more. Forget it again. And finally we'll spend a solid 2 hours poking at it and then we'll write an outline.

EEW! That image in burned into my mind.

Sara Raasch said...

L&L -- Yeah, that image is burned into my mind too. *shudders*

Tara Maya said...

I have some ideas which I love, but have no idea how to execute. I'm aware that my skill is not up to par with the coolness of the idea. So I let them simmer until I grow into them.

Renee Collins said...

Ha! I actually think that frog is awesome! :)

For me, when ideas come, I immediately write them down. I've got my trust Moleskine for that. I'm like Tara in that I usually want to wait until I am good enough to actually write the idea. Sometimes, they sit in my notebook and never amount to anything else, but they have been known to turn into novels. :)

Jill Wheeler said...

For me, it's like a puzzle. I have a seed of an idea and then I think of other things, and then the parts start to fit together. It's so neat!

Nikki said...

So, let me get this straight... your next book is about mutant frogs? You probably should have run that one past me first... it's a little strange.

Sara Raasch said...

Yeah, Nikki, mutant frogs and giant carrots and robotic tree limbs -- it'll be a hoot. Trust me.