Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guest Post - "Where do you get your ideas?" by author Mark Saunders

Today, I'm hosting a guest post from humor author Mark Saunders.

Where do you get your ideas? I think the real question should be: Where do you not get ideas?

Case in point, I was walking in downtown Portland, Oregon, on my way to meet a friend for lunch. Two men approached me from the other direction. It’s as if I had called central casting and asked them to send me two twenty-something males, very Portlandish, Mutt and Jeff-types (but not too Mutty or too Jeffy), both should be wearing tattered jeans and backpacks, leather vests and no shirts, both must have piercings and tattoos, and, oh yeah, they’re both smoking. As they approach me, and we pass, I overhear the short one tell the tall one: “That’s when I had my run-in with the Amish.”

Henry James said if you want to be a writer, “Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!"

So, that’s where you get your ideas. Everywhere. Don’t lose a thing. It’s all usable.

When I was working a full-time high-tech job, I’d get up very early and write before work. While at work, in addition to my job, I’d also be doing what’s known as “background processing,” working out story problems in the garage of my mind.  If I happened to get mugged coming home from work, the guy would get a bunch of maxed-out credit cards and about a pound of Post-it notes or scraps of paper with bits of dialogue, plot points, and partly developed scenes on them. Not exactly stuff you could easily fence.

In another example, “Oedipus and Hamlet Walk into a Bar” is the name of a short play I wrote several years ago. It was based on the title of a workshop I was asked to give to playwrights about humor, as part of a planned writers’ weekend, which never happened. Instead, I took the title and wrote a play around it, the only time, for me anyway, in which the title came first. I didn’t have a play in mind or know what to write until I realized that both “Ed” and “Ham” had mommy issues.  Bingo. I took two of the most tragic male figures in Western literature and found humor by putting them together in a modern-day bar, where Ed tells Ham he likes dating older women and thinks Ham’s mom is a hottie.

I wrote a humorous memoir, Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak, about dropping out late in life, selling just about everything, and moving to Mexico, where I didn’t know a soul and couldn’t speak the language. In addition to what one would expect from strangers living in a strange land south of the border, my memoir includes everything from Humphrey Bogart to Albert Brooks, from yoga to a Yugo.

There’s no magic formula to writing, no Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo. But it’s all usable. And since ideas are everywhere and can be used by anyone, it’s not the idea that matters. It’s what you do with it. Just like like life.

About The Author:

An award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and cartoonist, Mark Saunders tried standup comedy to get over shyness and failed spectacularly at it — the standup part, not the shyness. He once owned a Yugo and still can’t remember why. Nearly 30 of his plays have been staged, from California to New York - with several stops in-between - and two plays have been published.

With three scripts optioned, his screenplays, all comedies, have attracted awards but seem to be allergic to money. Back in his drawing days, more than 500 of his cartoons appeared nationally in publications as diverse as Writer’s Digest, The Twilight Zone Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post.

As a freelancer, he also wrote gags for the popular comic strip “Frank and Ernest,” as well as jokes for professional comedians, including Jay Leno. Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak is his first book.

Mark Saunders' web site:http://www.msaunderswriter.com/

About The Book:

Ay, chihuahua! Ay, caramba! Oy vey!
In early December 2005, Mark Saunders and his wife, along with their dog and cat, packed up their 21st century jalopy, a black Audi Quattro with a luggage carrier on top, and left Portland, Oregon, for San Miguel de Allende, three thousand miles away in the middle of Mexico, where they knew no one and could barely speak the language.

Things fell apart almost from the beginning. The house they rented was as cold as a restaurant’s freezer. Their furniture took longer than expected to arrive. They couldn’t even get copies of their house keys made. They unintentionally filled their house with smoke and just as unintentionally knocked out the power to their entire neighborhood. In other words, they were clueless. This is their story.

To Buy the Book:

Amazon buy link http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984141286?tag=tributebooks-20

Fuze Publishing buy link http://fuzepublishing.com/nobody-knows-the-spanish-i-speak

eBookPrice: $9.99

Kindle buy link

Nook buy link

Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak blog tour site:http://nobodyknowsthespanishispeak.blogspot.com/

My thanks to Nicole at Tribute Books for including me on this blog tour!

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

I overhear the short one tell the tall one: “That’s when I had my run-in with the Amish.”

Hysterical! :)