It’s something writers, including myself, get asked all the time. “Where do you get your ideas from.” Acclaimed writer Harlan Ellison said”A post office box in Schenectady. You send in two dollars and a self-addressed stamped envelope and they send you back an idea.” Humorist and newspaper columnist Dave Barry has a similar answer. His response was “Wisconsin.” Australian writer Ruth Park said hers came from “The Ideas Factory.”
This is the basis of my latest 10-Minute play WIP, MR WRIGHT’S RIGHT IDEA FOR WRITERS. The monologue will look at a harried man named Mr Wright as introduces a group of new ideas into what he does and the service he provides.
My goal is that this will be a funny look at where ideas come from that will be appropriate for high school actors doing a humorous solo piece.
My main focus as a writer is as a playwright, primarly a children’s playwright. However I do have a love for the American classic: the Western. I hate “tooting my own horn” but if you read my biography, you’ll see that not only do I enjoy writing westerns I’ve won awards for my western writing. In 2012 I placed First in the Kansas Writer’s Association Novel (First Chapter) competition and I placed Second in the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Western Novel competition. Both awards were for my work The Last Hand.
So Thursday night, while taking a break from studying for a test in my English Lit class, I read over at brettcogburn.com that he was holding a contest for what he termed a “mini western”. The rules were simple, the story had to tell a complete story, that is a beginning middle and end, in 4 sentences or less and must be a western.
I took to the contest like a man on fire and since Thursday night, I’ve written 4 of these mini westerns. I’ve shared the idea with an English teacher friend of mine and he incorprated it into his classroom teaching on Friday and with a writer friend of mine, who has written 2 of her own.
It’s a fun contest, but it’s also a challenge. How do you convey a full idea in 4 sentences? How do you get the reader engaged and care about the characters in 4 sentences? How do you tell a beginning, a middle, and an end in 4 sentences? Like I said, it’s an interesting challenge but a fun one as well.
If you want to read my story, head over to my Facebook page and Like me while you are there, if you haven’t already.