Who Thinks Like That?

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* A New Short Story
* Once More Into the Breach
* Who Thinks Like That?
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“Do Androids Dream of Electic Sheep?” title of a novel by Phillip K. Dick

And do schizophrenics dream of eclectic sheep?

“I’m totally ready to set this thing on fire.” Stacy, my server tech at my webhost, venting her frustration re a “mailscanner” she was trying to get rid of a few days ago.

A New Short Story

“An Untapped Field of Endeavor” went live yesterday on my Stanbrough Writes Substack. Go! Read! It’s free!

Once More Into the Breach

As I was telling another writer yesterday, I don’t know whether I’m going to keep up the YouTube podcasts. But I will do one this coming Sunday at 1 p.m. Arizona time as scheduled.

Well, if everything still works. If it doesn’t, pop by to watch me go off the deep end. Then after that I’ll see. The thing is, I say most of what I want to say in the Journal anyway.

I would like the YouTube broadcasts to be more for readers, but I guess I’m a little like most surgeons in that regard. I’m more comfortable talking with other writers than with readers, just as most surgeons I’ve encountered are more at ease talking with other doctors than talking with patients. So I guess you might say I have a lousy bed-side manner. 🙂

Who Thinks Like That?

Three Short Scenes to Illustrate Today’s Post:

Scene One—As I was visiting with my wife yesterday morning shortly after I posted the Journal, I spotted a short PVC tube lying on the window sill. I held it up. “What’s this for?”

“When you were gone one time, I cut it to put it behind the sliding window so it wouldn’t open all the way.”

Smart. But I considered the length of the tube and nodded. “So just wide enough that they could still slip a grenade into the room.”

She looked at me for a moment. “Where your mind goes is really weird, you know that?”

Yeah. And she hadn’t even read yesterday’s Journal post yet. But I considered her comment a compliment.

Scene Two—Several years ago, during a conversation that I thought was rapidly developing into a spat between my wife and one of her sisters (and her bro-in-law was involved, as usual), I interjected, “Okay, now, nobody grab a rifle and climb a tower.”

The bro-in-law said snidely, “Who thinks like that?”

My initial thought was Um, people who grab [expletive deleted] rifles and climb into [expletive deleted] towers, that’s who.

I mean, it isn’t like it hasn’t happened. It isn’t like I made it up out of whole cloth.

But I could have made it up. Because I’m a fiction writer, duh. Fiction writers think like that.

But I have to admit, all these years later his comment still sticks with me, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it.

Every now and then, wishing to express a bit of wry sarcasm after I hear something stupid come out of the mouth of an actor during a movie or drama series on television, I’ll glance at my wife and say, “Who thinks like that?” and we both enjoy a laugh.

Scene Three—On yesterday’s Journal post re brain implants, one writer commented, “And here I am just hoping the implant would help me to remember where I set my coffee cup down or locate my keys when I need them, lol.”

I responded with “Yeah, you and me both.”

But seriously, folks, stuff like I posted in the Journal yesterday goes directly to story ideas.

As I’ve said many times, story starters or story ideas literally are everywhere. And if you just thought Maybe, but not for me, they CAN be everywhere. You only have to notice them, let your mind run, and—if the idea grabs you—sit down and write it.

Noticing story starters and ideas—or perhaps the ability to notice ideas—is a muscle. The more you exercise it and practice with it, the stronger it will become. And very soon, ideas will be literally everywhere for you too.

One easy way to practice

is to go anyplace where there are a lot of people—a mall (do we still have those?) or an airport or a bus station (do we still have those either?) or train station—then sit and just watch people pass.

Why are they walking with that particular gait? Where are they going? Why?

(No, “to work” and “to make a buck” are not good responses. What kind of work? Pick one job that “fits” the person and the way s/he is dressed if you want to, but then pick one that does NOT suit the way s/he is dressed.)

Notice specifics, especially oddities, about the person’s clothing and-or appearance. If you’re in downtown Big City and you notice a man wearing a dark-grey business suit but his shoes are—oops, not shoes at all but western boots—maybe he’s going to an office cubicle to proofread or to a teller cage in a bank or maybe he rode a bull in the rodeo yesterday and is only sightseeing.

Or maybe he’s an undercover cop or a detective or a cat burglar or an assassin or an alien who’s trying to assimilate but hasn’t quite got the clothing down right. Whatever.

That’s how you exercise your story-idea muscle. If it helps, you can look at it as brainstorming by yourself.

But in order to do that, first you have to become one of the relative few unwashed who “think like that.”

Also be sure to see Rikki Mongoose’s comment on yesterday’s post.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

Writing About Belief, Superstition, and Rituals NOTE: This is about character development. Read and consider so it will sink into your creative subconscious, BUT WHEN YOU’RE WRITING just forget it and write the characters as they are.

At least 60 killed in shooting at concert hall near Moscow I list this because a writer in Russia who lives a short distance from the Crocus City [Concert]Hall told me about the attack in an email yesterday. I’m glad my friend is safe.

Fiction Branding… Part 5 In case you missed it.

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 1050

Writing of TJ Blackwell: The Origin Story

Day 1…… 6139 words. To date…… 6139
Day 2…… 1781 words. To date…… 7920
Day 3…… 2692 words. To date…… 10612
Day 1…… 3383 words. To date…… 13995

Fiction for March…………………….…. 46761
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 211353
Fiction since October 1………………… 514409
Nonfiction for March…………………… 23020
Nonfiction for 2024……………………… 122210
2024 consumable words……………… 333563

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 5
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 87
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 239
Short story collections………………… 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

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