Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The sewer of stinky ideas

I was cleaning up my computer the other day, discarding old stuff, etc., when I came across a note I had been keeping when I was in that glimmer-of-an-idea stage of my next novel (due out in 2010)

Now, keep in mind, this was REALLY a glimmer. Maybe not even a glimmer. Maybe just half a glimmer. Quarter of a glimmer?

I had sorta-kinda-hazy ideas that didn't really mean anything or even relate to each other in any meaningful way.

They were just random ideas. (And I mean Random with a capital R.)

Some of them are potential titles (and I often have a title before a story - so a title is pretty much meaningless at this early stage.)

Some of them are potential character names.

Some of them are concepts for potential first lines.

And some of them are just random things.

Most of them were not used.

Some of them were used in my next novel.

Some of them were used in my most recent novel: The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis.

I have no idea what many of them even mean anymore.

Sometimes these random glimmers grow and grow and become a book.

And sometimes they go right down the old literary toilet, thru the pipes, and into the sewer of bad, stupid and worthless ideas (that stink a lot).

Here they are, exactly as I wrote them:

Short But Happy Life

Porkchop Dreams

The Short Sad Life of Tooley Graham

Owen Jester's Guidebook to Love, Life and the Waffle House

Owen Jester's Guidebook to ___

First Left After the Waffle House

Turn Left at the Waffle House

Seven Reasons to Tell a Lie

Thirteen Reasons to ....
[note: these notes were written BEFORE Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why. I swear!]

superman lives at the waffle house

Viola's dad was the Peanut Man.

Omens: Knock knock appearing on web page; kid named Owen being reprimanded in Trader Joe's about saying something inappropriate, etc.
[These were things that happened to me that I saw as signs that I should use those ideas. Sheesh.]

Knock Knock

The Knock Knock Club

Knucklehead Blues


It had never snowed in Carter, Georgia. Not once.

helicopter kit

Tooley Graham

dumb as a bucket of rocks

The interstate ran above it.
Route 14 ran around it. And the Georgia Northeastern Railroad ran right through it.

OWEN Jester



[I was actually in the Waffle House in South Carolina and there were two grown men in there named Catfish and Squirrel. I couldn't make this stuff up.]



[I ended up using him in Popeye and Elvis]

Foster child

Chopstick Cafe


Itchy and Scratchy [I now know these are the dogs on The Simpsons. I guess I thought I made them up. Ha!]
Stumpy [Used him in Popeye and Elvis]



Joleen Berkus
[Used her in Popeye and Elvis]
Tooley Graham

Tapped on the wall. 3 short. 2 long.

Beach Bum Blvd

tiki torches

a mountain to north, an ocean to south, in the middle was a one-whistle town (train)

Mom still wore the same flowing skirts she'd had as a teenager - and perfectly good sneakers from the thrift store. everything from the thrift store was perfectly good

parrot who says shut up

Live over dry cleaners

Owen Jester tiptoed across the gleaming linoleum floor and slipped the frog into the soup.
[Note: See! This is that first line that I told you about.] It swam gracefully under the potatoes, pushing its froggy back legs through the pale yellow broth. It circled the carrots and bumped into the celery and finally settled beside a parsnip, its bulging eyes staring unblinkingly up at Owen. Then he hunkered down in the floor of the pantry, down among the sacks of potatoes and jars of pickled okra, and waited for _____.

Tyrone Wilbanks - big belly hugging laugh
3 strikes: fat; glasses; nice; eats baby carrots; wipes her nose with palm of her hand - pushing upward; her name was Viola
knock knock - eye rolls;
disgusting looks like smelling something bad

finds crate of novelty items

"I have a wagon"...then a knock knock joke

2 brothers one sister moved in with Mimaw: got it made until got sick and Essie came and used up all the money


Kirby Larson said...

wow, I love this! It feels a lot like rummaging around in a second-hand shop, but instead of finding one treasure, I came away with a shopping bag full!

Om Mama said...

I love that you shared this!! Thanks so much!!

Sharon Mentyka said...

I do that too! Except none of mine have gone anywhere yet and yours look a whole lot better compiled neatly in a nice italic font as you've presented it. To introduce myself, I'll just say I'm a fellow writer who loves your books! Thanks for writing them.

Barbara O'Connor said...

Thanks so much, Sharon!