I am a filmmaker, screenwriter, critic, and script consultant, based in London, with a penchant for science fiction and fantasy. I am one of the core team behind The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film – or SCI-FI-LONDON as we like to be known – running the workshops and panels that make up the filmmaking and literary strands of the festival, and I also serve as Literary Editor for sci-fi-london.com. I’ve served my time on the jury of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Literature, the most prestigious science fiction award the UK has to offer and my first book, Writing The Science Fiction Film (Pub MWP), is out now.
So I like to write. No, really!
Anyway, one of the questions I get asked all the time, in fact probably most writers get asked all the time, is “Where do you get your ideas from?” Well the answer is “From all round me, they’re everywhere!”
I write about this in my book, Writing the Science Fiction Film. In it, I explain how I like to collect little snippets of information, weird images or odd news bits that I come across online. These form a nice ‘filing cabinet’ of source stories to turn to for inspiration when I actually get around to putting my arse in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard.
I started off using bookmarking tools like del.icio.us and later Diigo to bookmark these snippets, but pretty soon it became so unwieldy that I gave up on it. Problem was that a lot of pages I’d bookmarked would go dead after a while, or not work and I’d lose the clip. Now I use a combination of clipping tools, like Evernote and Pocket to clip the whole story and keep it safe, but I also send things directly to my Kindle from the browser. Once you get in the habit of doing this, pretty soon you’ll realise it’s not where to find stories that’s the problem, it’s where to find the time to write them all!”
Anyway, in my guise as Literary Editor for SCI-FI-LONDON, I was interviewing a writer and after we were done he was quite complimentary about the quality and diversity of the questions I’d asked because he usually gets the same old questions like “Where do you get your ideas from?” (incidentally it turns out he gets his from a newsletter delivered each month by an old lady in Poughkeepsie) and that’s when it hit me. Why was I saving all this stuff for me? What was I going to do with it all anyway? Other people might want to share the bounty! I’m sure there are other screenwriters and writers out there, short on ideas, desperate for the muse to strike, needing inspiration, so here we are; Just Plot – a waiting room for plot devices, a place you can come and look around and see the stuff I’ve collected, and I’m still collecting, and scan the suggestions to see if it sparks your creativity, nudges you in the right direction to do some writing, gets you out of your writing rut. Writing prompts in other words. Free, gratis and for nothing. Just take and use.
Hope some of it helps, and drop me a line if anything works for you, I’d love to see what you make of it.