The Three A. M. Light Blub

Sue Viders is the author of more than 25 books, articles and columns for both artists and writers. Her book Heroes and Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes, is used in many colleges and universities from creative writing programs to screen writing courses, while 10 Steps to Creating Memorable Characters is gaining use as a practical workbook for writers who want to further develop their characters. 

Her latest product for writers is Deal a Story; an interactive card game consisting of 101 cards and six sections and is based on her Heroes and Heroines book. She also teaches on-line writing classes.    

            And a work in progress, The Building Blocks of Nonfiction, is a six booklet series for writers on nonfiction. The first one, almost finished, is Block One, The Idea.  It will be an ebook and will be free.  Watch for it.

The 3am Light Bulb

             or why do flashes of genius happen while you are sleeping, yet vanish when you wake up
The scientific answer: The brain often processes and reconstructs frustrating daytime problems allowing new insights to be reached while a person is asleep. Waking up simply turns the mind off and switches it back to normal everyday thinking.
            The unscientific answer: It just happens.
            Some of my very best epiphanies occur at 3 a.m.  Half awake or maybe half asleep, my gray cells have been busy working on my problem and found a unique solution for my heroine to use in my latest mystery story. A solution I had been unable to come up with during the day. 
            Yet when I get up in the morning, the images are gone, vanished in a puff of smoke as though they never existed.  Oh, a blurred outline of the image rattles around in my brain, but usually not enough to make any sense. And those ideas that do make it to the paper or computer suddenly don’t seem so wonderful.
             A flash of inspiration struck.
             I borrowed my husband’s old tape recorder. That night, at bedtime, I carefully put the recorder on the nightstand so all I had to do was reach out, grab it, turn it on and talk.  In theory it should have worked. However the problem with theories is that while they sound good, they usually don’t work as planned.
           First night the damn thing fell on the floor. By the time I got out of bed and groped around in the dark, I didn’t want to turn on the light and wake my husband, not only was I wide awake but I couldn’t remember a damn thing. The solution to the murder was gone. Completely.
           Next night I put the recorder under by pillow. Smug. This would work. Yes, it worked. Turned it self on as I moved and twisted the pillow in my sleep and the damn battery died.
           Okay, maybe the recorder wasn’t such a great idea after all.
            Falling back on the tried and true method writers have used throughout the ages, I put paper and pencil on the nightstand. However as I reached for the pencil the water glass tipped over. While mopping up the water before it had a chance to soak into the carpet, I realized the once again the story in my head had vanished.
            The final solution was a bed caddy. Those neat cloth holders that slip between the mattress and the box springs and have several pockets. I clipped a small night light on the paper pad. In another pocket I store several pencils.
             Now I have it down to a science. Wake up, take a fast trip to the john, all the while repeating the idea or insight over and over in my mind or even saying it out loud until I get back in bed, take out the clipboard, turn on the light and write.
             However, if someone out there in writing land has a better way to capture these 3am ideas please let me know.

The Complete Writer's Guide to HEROES & HEROINES, SixteenMaster Archetypes - ISBN - 1 - 58065-024-4 ©2000 - Lone Eagle Publishing Co.  Authors - Sue Viders, Tami D. Cowden and Caro LaFever

10 Steps to CREATING MEMORABLE CHARACTERS - ISBN -10: 1-58065-068-6 © 2006 - Lone Eagle Publishing Co. Authors - Sue Viders, Lucynda Storey, Cher Gorman and Becky Martinez
DEAL A STORY - Cards - no ISNB needed - © 2008 - Robert D. Reed Publishers - Author - Sue Viders
coming soon...
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF NONFICTION...six ebooklets on the fundamentals of writing nonfiction. 

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