Working In A Cool Mine

…somebody has to mine all that cool so we can refine hip out of it

Ladies and gentlemen of all species, I present the 1,400th Doclopedia entry.

The Doclopedia #1,400

Where Do These Ideas Come From?: The Answer

The Doclopedia started out with the title 365 Days, 365 Characters and it was me writing up a character a day for a week. Each week there was a theme, like My Favorite Characters or Pulp Women or Pirates. I did it that way for a few months, then got bored with just doing characters. At that point it became 365 People, Places & Things for a while, until it finally got name changed to The Doclopedia.

Almost since the beginning, I have had people ask me how I could keep coming up with all these themes and entries. This was especially true when I did 500 entries in one year. Actually, it was 500 entries in just about 11 months, but why quibble?

The answer, beyond the fact that I have an incredibly active imagination that never shuts off, is a bit complex. It really depends upon my mood, random inspiration and how much time I have to do the writing. The following should help to explain things a bit.

I Get A Definite Idea For A Theme

Examples: Bad Swords , Tiny Folk, Pirates of the Circle Sea

Sometimes a theme will pop into my head full born. I’ll have a pretty good idea of the entries and I’ll start writing and the words just flow. These entries are usually, but not always, of a longer sort. Very often, the entries have more similarity than my entries usually have.

I Think Of A Theme Title First

Examples: Technobabble, Strange Bandanas, New Dog Breeds

This is probably the most common way I come up with themes. In fact, I have a file full of unused theme ideas. The basic idea for these themes often comes from me doing something very ordinary, like looking at dogs in the dog park or going through my bandana collection.

I Get An Idea For A Single Entry And It Grows

Examples:Average Joes, Dangerous Animals!, Poultry That Saved The Day

This happens pretty often. I’ll get a mental image of some ordinary guy doing something strange and I’ll write it up. Then, I’ll have to write up at least a couple more entries like it. These sort of entries are often short and often screwier than usual.


I Write Down The First Thing That Pops Into My Head

Examples: Altered United States, Stairway To…, My Family

This also happens pretty often, usually when I have some writer’s block going and my self imposed deadline is looming large. It is what resulted in my ending up doing the longest theme yet, Altered United States, which was triggered by seeing a television ad for the movie Altered States while looking online at a map of the USA.

I Think Of Just One Line And Then Build Around It

Examples: Warning Labels, Knives That Do More Than Cut, Alt. Rocks

This happens least of all, but I’d still bet there are a a couple dozen entries built around one line. The Warning Labels theme began with me thinking up the line WARNING: Deep Fried Fleems are VERY HOT! “ and it grew from there. These will hit me like a bolt from the blue and I have to go with them.

I Get Suggestions From My Beloved Readers

Example: My Evil Twin, Murder By…

From time to time, I’ll come up with a theme and then, via Facebook or Twitter, ask my readers to give me the entries. In the above examples, they came up with many evil twins and murder weapons ranging from a used spork to chocolate scorpions to monotony. My readers never let me down. I should really get ideas from them more often.