The Ideas Book

This links up with the strategy of using little pieces of time. Every time you overhear a thought-provoking phrase or something on tv spurs you to ‘what if?’, write it down in the Ideas Book.
It is important to go into enough details that you will know whatyou were thinking when you come back to it (maybe months, even years) later. How often have I pondered on cryptic scrawls:

Avocado knave! Make it Colombia (Colombo?) – poignant! ?

The excess of punctuation, especially exclamation marks, is a sure sign that you won’t have a clue what it means when you come back to it.
M, the household wizard, claims that I’m like a 5-year old when we watch tv. “Why are they doing that? Why have they got a Colombian death squad in that car ad? I’m amazed they allow such pornographic imagery on kids’ tv.” (This last is the battery ad featuring pink rabbits)
Now it is much better to note these thoughts down in the Ideas Book than bother your long-suffering other half – or cat – with your chatter.
Do this
Have a little notebook and pen next to the remote control. Every time an idea comes to you, write it down. Beware of plagiarism, though. The rule of thumb: use the idea from one genre in its opposite genre, but not a related one. So a mistaken identity theme from the repeat of Friends could serve for an intense psycho-thriller, but not for your sitcom about a group of student house-sharers. So make a note of the stimulus’ source: an obscure fact that you gleaned from a travelogue or documentary could go in your sitcom.
If you use this or any other idea from my Ideas Book, please acknowledge the source.

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