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Hello, writers. Here it is the Fourth of July, and I expect most of y'all are out celebrating our country, right or left, and won't be in tonight.

I'll probably be going down to watch the fireworks over the lake, and/or offering aid and comfort to the dog, who has lived through many many years of fireworks without changing his opinion of them.

Actually there isn't much point in offering him aid or comfort. The only thing that works for him is to go into the bathroom and be a little damp trembling pile of miserable caninity on the linoleum till it's over.

Anyway, in case anyone does stop in... let me tell you what I've learned about Ideas over the last few years.

A single idea is never enough. It needs to meet up with a few other ideas before it becomes an actual story. In his book Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing, David Morrell tells about being called by someone-- some Hollywood person IIRC-- who has an Idea, and doesn't want to recount it over the phone. Mr. Morrell goes to the guy's office where the guy opens a safe and takes out a piece of paper on which is written The Idea. I think it was “Bioterrorism.”

Now that is an idea. But it's not a story. In order to become a story it needs to hook up with a few other ideas-- “A minor functionary at the Dept of Homeland Security who, ever since his wife left him, has had a terror of bridges”and “A vice-presidential candidate who is on the US Olympic Curling Team” and so forth.

I've tried doing various things with ideas-- writing them down in a notebook, posting them on the wall-- but really the only thing that seems to work is to let them hang around in my head for a few months or years while they wait for other ideas to take their fancy.

How about you? What do you do with your ideas?

Tonight's challenge:

Write a 100-word passage beginning with the words

You hardly notice the color.
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