Friday, February 27, 2009

Where Do Ideas Come From? #2

So, where do these ideas spend their time until they jump forth?  I’d say they live a life of quiet luxury in some deep dark corner of my brain.  I’m sure some ideas live quite contentedly, and never feel the urge to spring forward into my wakeful mind.  Others just won’t leave me alone.

Most ideas get their start in personal experiences.  Some quirky little experience I’ve have sometime during my life will take up residence in my brain and stay for good.  When I look back on my first two novels, Buddy Concrackle’s Amazing Adventure and Klutzhood, many of the events portrayed are based on memories of past experiences.  Not that I climbed through air ducts or rode a bike through the school or anything.  

That’s the beauty of fiction.  Novels can be like a tall tale of your own life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where Do Ideas Come From?

The most common question I get when I talk to audiences about writing is, “Where do you get your ideas?”  There’s no simple answer to this question, I’m afraid.  Well . . . I guess there is, because I could say: 


The way it seems to work is that when I’m writing, an idea will jump out of nowhere and land with a thump in my mind and shout, “I’M JUST WHAT YOU NEED!” or “I WAS MEANT FOR THIS STORY!”  

Yes, it’s just that weird.  The ideas seem to just pop out of nowhere.  So, getting ideas is pretty much out of my control as I’m in the flow of writing.

How's that for an answer?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Memory Tip #3

My final memory tip to the readers in the High Prairie Reading Challenge is one I call, The Secret Weapon!  This method of memorization was developed, supposedly, by a group of traveling musicians who lived in Bolivia in the 17th Century and were known for memorizing very long songs in short periods of time.  Although the method is said to be very effective, it can also be very painful.

Although I was sworn to secrecy not to reveal their top secret method, I will say, it involves standing on your head and reading the book backwards.  I know it sounds crazy, but if it worked for the traveling musicians of Bolivia, why can’t it work for us?

Now that I’ve shared three incredibly effective methods of memorizing Klutzhood’s 34,610, I wish all participants in the High Prairie Reading Challenge the best of fun, and the best of luck.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Memory Tip #2

And now for the promised second memory tip for readers taking on the Klutzhood Reading Challenge.

It is a well known fact that one of the best triggers of memory is the sense of smell.  This second tip in helping with your Reading Challenge is sure to work, for it is based upon a large body of scientific evidence.  At least, I’m pretty sure it is.

Buy a large package of smelly felts.  Take a copy of Klutzhood and a selected smelly felt flavour, and highlight the entire first chapter, running the felt over the words.  

My suggestion would be black for licorice, simply because I really like licorice.  Unfortunately, although Chapter 1 would smell great as a licorice chapter, it would be very difficult to read.  Maybe you should go with orange for Chapter 1.  

After you’ve highlighted the words, read it and take a good long sniff at the end of each page.

For Chapter 2, I’d got with banana yellow.  For Chapter 3, it’s definitely a purple grape.  With Chapter 4, it’s a toss up between lime green and blueberry blue.

I think you get the idea.

When it comes time for the challenge, for any question from Chapter 1, you’ll pull out your smelly felt, jam it up your nose, inhale, and the answer should flash immediately into your mind.

At least, that’s the theory.  

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Memory Tip #1

Further to my earlier post on the High Prairie, Alberta Reading Challenge, I would now like to offer some tips which will help young readers memorize all 34,610 words of the novel Klutzhood.  In addition to memorizing all 34,610 words, be sure you don’t overlook the spaces.  

Memory Tip #1

Measure the wall and ceiling space of your bedroom.  Buy one copy of Klutzhood for every 17,328 square centimetres of ceiling and wall space.  Remove the binding of the book and wallpaper and ceilingpaper your room with pages from the novel.  To plaster your room with the full novel, you’ll need at least two copies to get both sides of each page.  Over the next few days, you will be surrounded by the pages of Klutzhood.  Surrounding yourself with words is a great start in your quest for memorizing the novel.

Look for Tip #2 (and I can assure you, it's even better than Tip #1!) in the next few days.

Friday, February 13, 2009

High Prairie Reading Challenge

The brave, young readers of High Prairie, Alberta are undertaking a perilous challenge.  They are facing a barrage of 34,610 words that will show no mercy, take no prisoners, and leave the faint of hear quaking in their boots.  Yes, let the World of Literature know that the young readers who frequent the High Prairie Municipal Library are taking on the Klutzhood Reading Challenge!

To survive the challenge and emerge victorious, young readers are required to read the book and commit every tiny, miniscule detail to memory.  Who knows how difficult the questions might be? 


  • What is the seventeenth word on page 96?
  • What was the size (in cubic centimetres) of the engine in the truck Arlo’s mother drove on his first morning of school?
  • What was the colour of Pinball’s left eye?

Don’t worry, kids!  I don’t think the questions will be quite so obscure.  But still, to win the challenge, you will need to remember many, many details.

To help you prepare for the challenge, I thought I would offer up some tips in the next few days which might help you with your memorization of the novel, Klutzhood.  Stay tuned.