Monday, November 25, 2013


All my life I've been a Magpie collecting shiny bits of information and storing them. As a little kid those ideas played out in drawings or illustrated stories—like a comic book. Sometimes those ideas just created a world in my brain and played. Other times the ideas were used as pretend adventures to be played out by my brothers and I. When I brought my brothers into the story they embellished and fleshed out the ideas and we had days of fun with the results.

Wonder what's going on over there?
Where many people would see a pretty piece of landscape, my mind would react to the beauty visually but then it would gallop off into storylines of hidden people and animals living there. The shadow between two trees would become a door into another world. One place we lived had a honeysuckle caves in the woods with paths moving between them and they were fun to explore physically. Some of them were quite large and big enough to, with a little work, create living quarters. Mentally, in my imagination, this is where all sorts of interesting creatures lived—faeries lived there, you see, or the people who were magic and could turn into animals. I was playing paranormal shapeshifter games long before it became a genre. But those tunnels and caves became paths to different worlds and people.

Ah, that's the perfect shade of do I get it 
home? Wait, was that a mermaid I just saw? No, maybe a 
lady with 
a sword? 
My mind has always worked like this. Even today, when I take a walk there is a part of my mind that sees stories and snippets of adventures. Granted, the ideas aren't in the forefront of my mind like they were as a preteen or teen but they’re still there. Many times those places I've walked or things I've observed in my walks will play out some adventure, later, in my dreams. To me it’s normal and I thought everyone had that moving video in their head, lol!

As I got older I started writing down some of those vivid dreams. I have notebooks of ideas and snippets of scenes I've written. When I got my computer I would store those outlines, ideas, scenes in a writing file. My writing files are quite large and filled with fascinating, to me, research on things I've seen in dreams or just thought about.  I’m inquisitive about many things and my files reflect that curiosity.

My inner magpie is a collector of lots of shiny ideas and some of them have made it to a basic story outline, others have not. I say outline but its more like a paragraph of storyline and some character sketches and maybe glimpses of the world I’m playing in. Any teacher would raise an eyebrow at my use of the term, outline, but it works for me. When I go beyond flashes of ideas
and create a basic storyline it moves from my writing file to it’s own file and my magpie flies around collecting more shiny bits of  research to add to it.

Yep, I have a curious magpie mind. J

How about you? How do you collect your story

Do you write down ideas and file them or let them ping around your mind for awhile?

Wednesday: I have the incomparable Kathryne Kennedy sharing her new book and her very cute puppy with us.


Al Diaz said...

Those are really beautiful birds. I think I also have a magpie mind. :) I saved a dance for you at the cave too. ;)

L.G. Smith said...

It's funny, I was just sitting here watching the magpies on my back porch. I put out peanuts for the bluejays every morning, but then the magpies come and squawk like crazy until I throw some out for them too.

And neat analogy. Yep, I'm always collecting shiny bits of story ideas like that.

Oh, and now the squirrel is here. Time for more peanuts. :))

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mind tend to simmer in my mind for a while.
And I think it's all the 'stuff' that goes with being an adult that causes us to not see those things so clearly or easily as we did when we were younger.

shelly said...

I crockpot mine.

Andrew Leon said...

I have scraps of "paper" (because some of them are in my computer and some are scraps of paper) all over the place with jotted ideas and notes. Sometimes a title, sometimes an idea.

~Sia McKye~ said...

AL-- I'd love to share a dance with you! We can talk about our collections, lol!

LUANNE--They're beautiful birds. I have a friend who feeds hers by hand. I'm thinking you go through lots of peanuts. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

ALEX--oh, mine do too. I was thinking about how effortlessly stories and adventures flowed through my mind as a child. For sure all the adult stuff do tend to drown out the flow.

I was thinking I need to just sit and clear my mind of the adult stuff and let my mind see the possibilities again. Let the playfulness come out.

~Sia McKye~ said...

SHELLY--I had to read that twice. Crockpot? Magpies? Oh no, lolol! Then I realized what you said and meant.

Andrew--Yah, sounds like we have similar note taking skills. :-)

Julie Flanders said...

Magpie mind, I love it. What a perfect analogy. And they are gorgeous birds! :)

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

I love this analogy. Yeah, I collect up ideas in notebooks and lately in a notebook app on my phone.

Jo said...

I like the magpie analogy. I certainly used to have lots of ideas when I was a youngster, not so much these days I suppose. I just read other people's ideas.

Carol Kilgore said...

Our minds are totally sisters. I could have written this except for the 'brothers' part. Mine would have said 'with my best friend'.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Its great when your brain never stops and you subconsciously pick up all sorts - just like a magpie!But for me - sometimes I just want to switch it off!