It’s interesting where people can find ideas when they are suffering from a severe case of writers’ block, or when they become stuck on a particular synonym for a word they want in their story, or when a person just has an overactive imagination.
This last type of person describes me. I have an overactive imagination. I can just look at something and get an idea for a little story, even if it has nothing to do with my current writing project. I can go surf the Internet reading people’s innocent comments on message boards and say, "Hey, this would make an interesting topic!" When I lay down to go to sleep, I have about 25 different ideas in my head and none of them will help me one bit on completing my manuscript.
Two rocks talking.
I got the idea when working on one of my crossword puzzles. I was pondering an answer and had decided to pop my Encyclopedia Britannica CD-ROM into my computer. I was searching for the name of a Norse God by typing in the word "VIKING." Instead, the answer I got was about the Viking 2 Lander on Mars - the little wheeled robot that took all those still photographs of the surface. At one corner of the encyclopedia entry was a photo of red rocks stretching out like a sea into the distance.
And I got the idea about two rocks talking.
It is a simple topic. I could make it into two animated rocks spewing out the morals of why Timmy shouldn’t rely on a barking dog to tell the grownups that he’s trapped in a well. Timmy should have been careful of where he was walking in the first place. Let’s drop on top of his head to knock some sense into him. The story is done. Easy.
It’s too easy.
No, my active imagination won’t let me off the hook this way. It wants me to come up with an idea which doesn’t involve scary gossiping minerals.
Well, this puts my children’s book on the kibosh.
Two rocks talking. No children’s story. No super-intelligent collies. And Timmy is never going to get out of the well now.
I’m twirling 100 feet off the ground with the cliff face a good five feet away from any of my danging limbs. I can’t use the safety rope to swing toward the inviting projections on the craggy wall. It’s caught between two sharp rocks up above as I can hear the faint snicks of the woven fibers slowly snapping apart. With the whistling breeze only strong enough to make my body perform spins at the end of the line, I glare at the two gnawing stones. I imagine that the wind’s noise is really the rocks’ whispering argument on how big a crater my body is going to make when I strike the ground. My odds aren’t good that I’ll bounce to my feet afterward - unharmed. Neither of them wants to make this sucker bet.
Drat! I came so close. There are no collies or wells, but I still have two scary gossiping minerals.
Or do I?
Anthropomorphic personification is where you are attributing human form or feelings to an inanimate object. Overactive imagination is where you are fantasying the inanimate object having human traits but this isn’t necessarily true in the content of the story.
Yet which one makes the better tale?
This depends on your audience. Or perhaps it depends on the topic? Or maybe where and what it is that you want to do with your writing? Heck, how should I know!
I’m just glad I’m down to 24 different ideas when I go to sleep tonight.