Monday, May 7, 2018

Idea Farming - A Science Guy's Read on Writing - C.R.Downing's Book Tour 2018. Book #4

I'm having a sale on the e-book version of  Idea Farming. 

It's only 99¢
But, the sale runs ONLY from 
May 8 through May 12
Book #4:
There is a link to Amazon for the title book in the line above this. 

Elevator Speech
This book is a step-by-step explanation of how to grow an idea into a story. Rather than more verbiage, I'm posting the TOC.

I apologize for the format issues in this post. It's due to the layout of the manuscript, not your browser.

Table of Contents

Six Lists of Credentials
Thread One
Ideas on Generating Ideas

Chapter 1
Idea Mining: Where to Get  Ideas for Your Stories
Chapter 2
Idea Mining: Additional Mine Tunnels to Explore
Thread Two
Various Ways to Grow Your Ideas

Chapter 3
Idea Farming—Growing Your Plot #1 (Growth Requirements)
Chapter 4
Idea Farming—Growing Your Plot #2—Container Gardening (short stories)
Chapter 5
Idea Farming—Growing Your Plot #3—The Backyard Garden Part I (Anthologies/Novellas)
Chapter 6
Idea Farming—Growing Your Plot #4— The Backyard Garden Part II (Anthologies/Novellas)
Chapter 7
Idea Farming—Growing Your Plot #5—The South 40
(The Novel)
Chapter 8
Idea Farming—Growing Your Plot #6—Mega Farming
(The Book Series)
May Your Crop Yield Be Abundant!

Background Information
Book #4 Idea Farming for 2018 Book Tour

This book is a compilation and adjustment of a series of my earliest blog posts. When I started the blog, the focus was on topics pertaining to writing. The seven blog posts ran from mid-October, 2014 through the first week in January 2005.

This book was published on 1/25/2015. No moss grew on that stone.

Here’s the description from the Amazon page.
As the subtitle states, this is "A Science Guy's Read on Writing." Over 8 chapters, the booklet explores how to take an idea and develop it into everything from a short story to a novella to a novel to a book series.
Using the analogy of various types of gardening and farming, author C. R. Downing presents personal experience and advice gleaned from others over his writing career.
Written in a conversational style, the booklet is designed for budding and experienced writers from teenagers through adults. While many of the examples included focus on science fiction writing, Downing's primary genre, the underlying principles and process easily lend themselves to application use in any fiction field.
Readers who are looking for practical, easy to understand methodologies and tips on improving their writing will find this book an invaluable addition to their libraries--one that is consulted often.

At the time, I was in a rush to get books out. My book publication target was eight. Eight was not an arbitrary number, but it was based on a misunderstanding between my publicist and me.

The content is creative and informative. However, looking back now—three years later I see the opportunity for some updates. At some point in time, I’ll go through the manuscript and enhance the analogy with content based on what I’ve learned in the years since I wrote this book.

To give you an idea of how my brain works on a project like this, I’ve reprinted the first chapter. I added a few edits, notes about updates, and comments in red. I hope this gives you a better idea of what an idea farmer goes through.
Idea Farming - A Science Guy’s Read On Writing
Volume #1

Thread One
Ideas On For Generating Ideas 
Chapter 1
Idea Mining—where to get ideas for your story
Never discount your own brain as a rich source of story ideas
Before I discuss “Idea Farming,” there is one basic requirement you must meet. You can’t grow a single story by Idea Farming unless Before any farming can begin, you have to have an idea. So, Chapter 1 discusses sources to mine for story ideas.
There are three sources for ideas that I use with regularity. First, w We’ll look at each as an independent entity.
Real life
Events that really happened are excellent sources for ideas. They have the ring of truth to them, and they usually provide key plot points you can incorporate.
In one of my upcoming novels, The 5th Page (scheduled for a summer/fall 2015 release) [Yeah, right. Since I wrote/published that parenthetical phrase, I’ve done at least 200 hours of editing and other forms of revising and re-writing on that manuscript. The book is now over 650-pages long. I’m not sure when it will be released.] a friend, and former police officer told his story of why he left the police force and became a pastor. Since the idea of transitioning from police officer to pastor intrigued me in and of itself—and the minimal details he was allowed to provide based on the circumstances of his separation from the force provided significant tension—I thought this was an ideal story idea.
So I wrote a novel about it.
After my friend read the manuscript, my friend returned it saying, “Thank you.” “Oh, no,” I replied. “I should be thanking you.”
“You don’t understand,” he said. “Now I know how the story ends.”
That’s what a fiction writer dreams to hear.
However, there are critical points to keep in mind and essential policies to follow when converting fact to fiction.
But more about that in subsequent chapters.
Published material
Since you can’t copyright an idea, existing stories can provide ideas. But, the number of possible plot situations is limited.
“Georges Polti was a 19th century French writer [who] described 36 situations that may be found in many stories, based on the list identified by Goethe who said it was originated by Italian Carlo Gozzi (1720-1806).” tions.htm
While Polti’s list is extensive, it, like nearly any list, is most probably incomplete. However, when teaching high school biology, after the Advanced Placement Biology Exam, my AP Bio students wrote a science fiction story—after all they had all taken 3-4 years of science and had listened to my stories for at least a year.
To be fair, I also wrote a story while the students were writing one. To even the playing field a bit, since I was writing short stories regularly, I allowed the class to pick three numbers from 1-36. Those were the required plot situations I had to include in my story. In addition, they got to select two major characters. Those ranged from students in the class to Sponge Bob and Chuck Norris—in the same story! Finally, they were allowed the select the science upon which my story was based.
I will admit that is probably not the best way to mine your story ideas, and many of the stories written in that manner were cheesy. However, other teachers and I, and some other teachers, have used two or three of those classics to pique interest in a topic for various science classes. The basic outline of one of them is the structure for one of the stories in my Traveler’s HOT L series.
Dreams, etc.
Never discount your own brain as a rich source of material. I have learned to get out of bed and write down ideas when I wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I read skdf solsnof soo s alsno, or some such iteration of what I was thinking. But, most often, enough of the dream is there to allow me to reconstruct my thought patterns and use them.

Keep a pencil and paper on your nightstand!

Chapter 2
Idea Mining: Additional Mine Tunnels to Explore
I get my ideas from at least four sources

If you have a book that’s been published, or if all you’ve done is mention that you’re writing a book, it’s very likely that you’ve been asked the question, "Where do you get your ideas?"

Most people in the world are content to hear stories. They like to listen or read and be drawn into a different time, place, or dimension. Once inside the world you, as a writer, create, the reader follows the paths you establish. They might think they know what’s going to happen and be surprised when it doesn’t.
Readers might even talk or write to you after reading your story wanting more information on some point they consider underdeveloped. But, that’s okay because they were in YOUR world for a time.
While you will learn valuable lessons about what people want from listening to this type of feedback, don’t assume you need to change your story to fit every comment.
Try that, and you’ll never write a second, or next, book. It’s your story—you control the characters, the action, and the setting. 

I received the following comment from the Editor of Left Hand Publishers as part of the email notifying me that they accepted my short story What Goes Around . . . for their anthology, A World Unimagined. The bolded sentence supports this paragraph’s content.
(C.R., on a personal note, we really liked your story. The Editor-in-Chief’s pre-edit notes should be going out around the 9th. Before that, we would like to suggest giving the ending some thought. A sharper twist at the very end would provide more impact for your reader. A nice twist at the end could be that the Deloqkians took this planet from Earthlings ages ago and now they are defending it themselves. That could explain mosquitos, old song lyrics, wood, etc. It’s YOUR story; we will leave that to you. Just a thought.
Another thought: The title is too “spot on.” Too “earther.” You use it in the story several times (Gnarnell even paraphrases it on her deathbed.). Give the reader more credit. Using a title slightly more vague may make it tie in later and not be as “in your face”. Something like “Another Word” or whatever. Again, it’s YOUR story. The Editor has more notes, but these are just a couple of big points that stuck out. We love the originality of the concept, we just would like it see you take it to a new level.)

Additionally, y Y0u probably left certain details out of your book on purpose.—and t That bothered some readers. Whether for length, continuity, or personal preference, your story is how you wanted it when you had it published. If that’s not the case every time after the first book, which, in fairness might not have been the perfect novel, why wasn’t it what you wanted to publish? I 100% GUARANTEE ADDING SIGNIFICANT COMMENTARY HERE IN THE REVISION.

Chapters 1 & 2 Takeaways
       Real life (family members, life events, personal experiences, etc.) are an excellent source of ideas.
       Published materials of all genres can be sources of ideas — but be careful not to use those sources’ actual words!
       Record all ideas you have — no matter when you get them—even if while daydreaming in a meeting.

<This is not the end of Chapter 2 in the book.>

Next book on the tour: Traveler’s HOT L – Volume 2 – More Tales from the Time Travelers Resort

I've posted a 113-page PDF file with samples from all my published books and three as yet unpublished manuscripts. This provides a comprehensive overview of genre and style. I invite you to download the file. Enjoy the read.

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