Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Ideas

"Where do You Get Your Ideas?" is a common question to ask authors. I've even read newsletter articles on where to look for ideas. So far, I haven't had any problem coming up with ideas for my stories; I have quite a backlog of stories waiting for me to write them. Basically, if you just pay a little attention to the world around you, and turn your imagination loose, the ideas should form.

For instance, this morning I heard a story on NPR about a music professor who got together with one of his former students, who was working in cancer research. The professor had some potential evidence that pulsing bursts of certain sonic frequencies at germs and protozoa had a tendency to kill the creatures. The two have been conducting experiments on various types of cancer cells, which they hope to write up soon, provoking others to duplicate their experiments. Nobody else has thought to try this new line of treatment; they were all trying to 'tweak' methods that others had already tried. I didn't realize, at first, that they were talking about sound frequencies so high a human couldn't hear them, and I day dreamed about a future where sick people were treated by musicians. Have leukemia? Listen to an hours worth of baroque composition. Kidney stones? 57 minutes a day for 3 days of Nordic opera. These days, we complain about pills and medicine that taste bad. Can you imagine having an illness such that the treatment was listening to a type of music you detested? Or what if they couldn't even disguise it as music, and you had to listen to discords and blackboard screechings? How long could you put up with that before you decided the cure was worse than the illness?

I read a short article on the web news today about Keplar-18, a star about the same size as our own sun. They've found 3 planets around it so far, and the smallest is about twice the size of Earth. All 3 of these planets are within Mercury's relative orbit, and they take 4.5 days, 7 days and 14 days to orbit Keplar-18. I've always had a hard time imagining what it would be like to stand on Mercury, so I really have to work to imagine standing on one of these planets, just from the perspective of being that close to the sun, of traveling that fast around it. Of course, there's no air in space, so technically, there wouldn't be any 'wind' whipped up by the speed, but exactly where does the sun's corona end? Are these planets close enough that the star's flames might occasionally lick at them, and might those licks be felt as a wind? If there's any kind of life on these planets, would such licks try to eliminate that life, or would that life see those flames as a good thing, like rain or sunshine?

Two ideas in one day. They're just ideas so far, and may not get any further than that. My point is, ideas are all around you. You just need to leave yourself open to seeing them.

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