Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bad Ideas

     Sometimes coming up with bad ideas is really fun.  It's part of the brainstorming process and when you want to be a comedy writer, fleshing out those bad ideas can be a laugh riot.  Sometimes you've wasted a full day being essentially counter-productive, but you've laughed a lot and maybe shaken some of those ideas out. 
     Sometimes you don't know an idea is bad until you've fleshed it out.  Also, sometimes that bad idea just makes for a great example to keep coming back to.  I keep using the example of a girl traveling to Mars as an idea for a story. It's a terrible idea, but I keep using it to explain different aspects of story over all.  I'm working on that project I mentioned a few days ago, and my writing partner and I were discussing the inciting incident.  "You know, inciting incident.  Like the thing that makes the girl go to Mars."  When trying to figure out what kind of story we wanted to tell, I threw out "well, if we were telling the story of a Martian on Venus, it'd be classic fish out of water."  My writing partner thinks I really want to tell a story about Mars. 
     And maybe I do.  This is the bad idea that keeps on giving.  This is where I can go to flesh out character traits that probably won't work and esoteric science puns that only I think are hilarious.  I wanted to name our character Tess so I could use the "as in 'of the d'Ubervilles'" joke.  I got the same reaction from the room that I would get if I told it on Mars.  Silence and confusion.  I might still use it though. 
     A bad idea is better than no idea at all.  Of course sometimes bad ideas are allowed to go too far, but that's not the point, or what I'm talking about.  My mother used to say that a bad *whatever* was better than no *whatever*.  It usually panned out.  Bad breath is better than no breath at all.  Bad brakes are better than no brakes at all.  A bad storm is better than no storm at all.  Hm, that one doesn't really follow.  But many others do. 
     Anyway, the point was that many times, these bad ideas just crack me up.  For example, a wee bit ago I was struggling to think of a topic to write about.  I was joking with Mary about several topics, such as listing things I don't like about work.  (I've already said too much.)  Obviously, this is a bad idea.  But it makes me chuckle.  And eventually I can work through that bad idea and hopefully move on to a much better one, like bad ideas!
     So, managers and agents, look for the first draft of "Tess Goes to Mars," coming to your mailboxes soon! 

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