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Ideas I Gots Them

'Hey Ryan, how do you come up with your ideas? I could never do that - I get half way through writing a long letter before I need to get up and do something else...' asks John from my church this morning.

Well, in no particular order, here the answer: I get an idea, and if it sticks with me, I figure it's probably a decent enough idea, so I start writing. For me, beginnings tend to pose the greatest challenge. It's not the muddy middle or how to end or anything like that - nope. For me, it's the beginning.


Argh. Argh argh ARGH. That's what I have to say about that. See, each time I set out on a new story, I'm really setting out with my newest set of traveling companions. I don't really know where they're going much more than they do, to be perfectly honest with you. But, like in the Elder Scroll games, one of the things I love about writing is I get a ground-level view on something... I don't know... cool. I get to live another life. A different life. I get to see where the road goes. I can follow it all the way to its end and then some. As I write, I often feel like character. I get to emphasize with a part of me I never really consciencely knew I had, somewhere deep inside.

Take for example, my what I'm working on now: The Last Circle. It ought to be coming out this Spring (2018), assuming all goes well. Knock on some wood for me or something. Anyways, in it, without giving away too much, the main character is an elf named Esse, who is dead set on a quest of personal redemption by rescuing his fiance's missing parents, who he lost on an expedition he was leading into the deadly Desert of Redd last Spring. IS this character word-for-word me? No. Of course not (no pointy ears here!). However, what I feel is happening as I write is feeling out a vein of me which is angry.

Angry? Who, me? Ryan's doesn't exactly come off as an angry guy... unless you bring up Alpacas

(but that's a whole different story). But yeah, I kinda guess I am. It's something deep down inside. And so, through some grand retrospect, I guess I'm on my own little quest for personal redemption. Writing helps crystallize that which would otherwise remain lurking in nebulous obscurity. I get to see it - both on the page and in my mind as I type. Super helpful.

And it's funny too, because every now and again, I come across stories I read long ago. And within them, I slowly realize they have bits and pieces which have committed to my own personal formation today. The way the author's voice assumes and describes their world. The character of the various protagonists and villains. The beauty and the wonder. The darkness... the light. It all jumbles around inside me through the sieve of my eyes, filters through my mind and bubbles steadily in my heart. Then, years later, it comes back out through my fingers and my mouth when I tell stories.

So yeah, that's where I am right now. A story to tell - a party to go to later - the season to weather. And it's all good. Somehow, some way, it's all how it needs to be. I'm cool with that... so long as I can keep writing.

- Ryan


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