Friday, June 22, 2012

Where Ideas Come From Guest Blog with Luna Lindsey

Where Ideas Come From

In Dreams by Streetlight world, faeries feed on the byproduct of creation.  To that end, some faeries actively inspire human dreamers, to keep them going through creative slumps. 

The old Celtic stories tell of the Leannán Sídhe, (the Borrow-Lover or Fairy Sweetheart) who would enthrall a human bard, giving him songs and making him successful.  In return, she fed off of his lifeforce.  It is said that this is why Celtic poets often died young.

Muses are more commonly referenced in our culture.  Every artist has her muse, who offers up creative energy and ideas.  This idea comes from the Greek goddesses, nine Muses who invented and inspired poetry, science, and dance.  The Greeks also had the concept of a daemon who could guide people in thought.  This concept later morphed into the Genii of Rome.

The Genii were Roman spirits associated with every person, place, and concept (like marriage, houses, protecting children).  For a person, her genius resided within, as part of her soul, and yet distinct.  All brilliant ideas were attributed to these beings, and the concept lives today in a new form.

Today, we don’t need outside magic to think.  Our geniuses are real people, the brightest around.  We can prove genius through an IQ test.   We attribute brilliance to physical brains, which function better through a combination of genetics, nutrition, education, and exercise.

We’re all stuck with our genetics.  The other three factors are totally under our control.  We can eat right and fill our heads with caffeine.  We can study.  And we can exercise both our bodies and minds to turn our brains into idea-spawning machines. 

I wrote in my blog recently about the Abundance of Ideas.  This post is complimentary to that.  Here, I’d like to explore some of the specific ways to get ideas.

1.       I fill my brain with lots of content.  Half of it falls out, but what’s left leads to surprising ideas later on.  The internet age is awesome, and between random articles, documentaries, TED talks, and a steady stream of non-fiction books, I get my fill.  My favorite form of knowledge, and the best for spawning ideas, is science and even pseudo-science.  Certain topics have spawned more ideas than others, like: Chaos theory, the Singularity and Transhumanism, memetics, morphic resonance theory, the writings of Carl Jung, Kombuchas, fungi, and bacteria science.  Your favorite topics will be different, and possibly not so scientific, so read a wide variety of things.  The right stuff will stick.  They will sit in your subconscious and stew, combine with other thoughts, and become a Brilliant Idea™.

2.       Visit places.  Lots of places.  You don’t need to get on an airplane.  I’m sure your neighborhood, city, and region have plenty of interesting places to explore.

3.       Let your mind wander.  Mindless activities offer the best environment.  Drive, shower, mow the lawn, and fall asleep.  Make sure to turn off the radio or podcast during these times, so you have a chance to listen to your own brain, no someone else’s.

4.       Research.  This is different from general education.  This is when you’re working on a specific topic, like “fairies”.  In my case, I read old folklore and check out pictures of Ireland and England where those stories were told.  I read the history of those areas so I understand the cultural context of the people.  I read up on archeology of barrows, look up Gaelic words, and immerse myself in Celtic music and art.  This helps me hone the specifics and gives me ideas within the larger idea.

5.       Brainstorm.  There are a number of techniques for brainstorming, including mind maps and making lists of associated words.  The key thing is to write down every thought that pops up, without judgment or qualification.  Quantity over quality.  You are asking your brain to give you everything, not the best.  The best just might be buried under a lot of silly ideas, just like that one time when your wallet was under a pile of dirty socks. 

6.       Use paper.  Something about the reality of the pen allows ideas to flow; whereas a blank white screen can be more intimidating.  It sometimes seems like my head is the only creative part about me, but our hands evolved to be a part of the process, whether we were carving an urn, weaving a basket, painting a cave wall, or writing a short story.

7.       As I mentioned in my Abundance of Ideas post, be sure to write all your ideas 
down, even those you won’t have time to develop.  Include some of your night-dreams.  Your brain is your muse.  It is in your thrall.  Don’t let your brain think its hard work was wasted.  Reward it for good behavior and it will reciprocate with plenty more good ideas.

Book Details 
Word count: 124,000 
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Amazon Kindle Price: $3.99 
Available from, 

Jina and Sandy survived the unthinkable. Now they've set up a secret Order in Seattle to fight the impossible - fairytale creatures born of human nightmares and nourished on dreams. 

Their tools: iron, lore, science, glamour, and support groups. As beginners, without access to the ancient societies of faerie hunters, they must rediscover how to protect themselves. And in order to fight the fiends of the world, Sandy must take control her inner ghosts. 

As a dreamer in a rock band, Jina unknowingly feeds the fae and attracts unseen enemies at every turn. Now, they're finally on the tail of at least one dark monster bent on evil. She is a dreamer, so she must follow her heart - but which way does it lead? 

Jett is an elf who only wants to protect her hodge-podge clan of faeries from the encroaching world of science and religion - which have systematically slaughtered her kind and the beliefs that gave birth to her people. True dreamers are rare beings, and when she finds them, she does everything she can to protect them and claim them as her own. 

Ezra is a teenager who never feels comfortable in his own skin. Most people like him well enough, but when he looks in the mirror, he sees a demon. He has been taken in by the Garbage Eaters, who expect obedience and purity. Before long, he suffers a crisis of faith that may lead him into real danger. Delve into this deeply developed, internally consistent world of the fae, and meet beings who are simultaneously alien, elegant, and terrifying, fueled by dreams and the creative energy of artists. 

Glimpse the secret world of Tir Nan Og through the eyes of fully fledged four-dimensional characters living in a Seattle that is just a bit weirder than you think. 

This is a story with psychological depth, a page-turner with unexpected twists and turns. 

When prey hunts, who will lead the chase, and who will run? 

YouTube Video Author Reading of short story Right After Feeding Time: 

About the Author:

Luna is mostly a Washington native, however she was born in Salt Lake City, UT. She grew up in the Tri-Cities, Washington, spending time between the three cities of Richland, Pasco, Kennewick, and outlying town Benton City. She grew up reading her father's sci-fi collection, which included many classic authors like Isaac Asimov and Orson Scott Card. She was homeschooled, and as a child was into piano, model rockets, astronomy, physics, 4H, Girl Scouts, writing, giving speeches, computers, and raising rabbits. 

She started attending cons and playing RPGs in her early 20s. In 2003, Luna moved to Seattle. She lives a weird life and loves to geek out and delve into many topics. Her interests are many, and sometimes she forgets all the things she knows how to do. Luna worked for many years in the IT field, mostly in the computer software industries, before quitting to write full time in 2010. She has written over thirty short stories and three novels. 

Website and Blog: 


Roxanne Rhoads said...

Thanks for sharing, this is a a great post.

I love the Celtic legends and have read quite a few books about the fae. One of my favorite subjects to read.

I also love your advice and totally agree. I am still an old fashioned girl with my notebooks and I'm never far from pen and paper. I carry one with me wherever I go just in case an idea pops up.

I also love to lose myself in painting or crafting. My mind will wander and poof all the sudden I have new ideas for stories.

Wenona said...

It amazes me that so many people don't use pen and paper anymore. I love my notebooks. All my ideas still get scribbled into them.

Luna Corbden said...

Oh, crafting is a great idea. It's something I don't do as much anymore, but lately have been trying to think of something to mindlessly do with my hands, so I can just think. I think of going back to cross-stitching or making chain mail, then I wonder, "What will I do with the stuff I make?" I've been looking for charity auctions to give things to. :)