The First-Person Narrator That Is Me III.

Text Farhad Babaei

Experimental Essays on Mental Elements in Creative Writing


In this section, the discussion revolves around ideas and how to deal with them. Ideas, or the sudden thoughts that come to mind, exist in every field of expertise. This section delves into the topic of the traps of excessive bigotry and attachment to initial ideas and why one should not immediately act upon them upon encountering them. Furthermore, it explores how through behavior and analysis, one can extract other ideas from the initial one and eventually arrive at a network that the initial idea brought along. Describing initial ideas, distinguishing good from bad ones, and understanding how an idea can evolve and ultimately serve as an active and growing material for creative writing, are among the other points addressed in this section.

Part 3: Idea

„Daring ideas are like chessmen moving forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.“

This quote from Goethe almost describes the concept and nature of the idea to a great extent. The initial idea is not supposed to stay with the author or to be captivated by it until the last moment.

Idea, inspiration, quick thought, or initial sense are the names used for this concept. It is the product of an artist’s thinking and reflection about something in his/her area of expertise.

I think catching an idea and becoming closer to it, and then making a relationship with it, is more important than how to change it or use it in a story. So, the Author can learn how to figure out how to deal with it.

Remember the Little Prince story?

Fox said: „To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world.“

So, here I assume, an idea has to be tamed first and then maybe it will be unique! To tame an idea, as I said before, the author has to learn how to make a connection and how to behave to it.

Ideas are the first inner whispers of a narrative in the writer’s subconscious. They always surprise the writer. The sudden and uninvited guests are the artist’s mind. They come in a flash and suddenly shine on something and then leave. Ideas can be the result of chemical interactions in the brain. It is not clear how they are formed and when they suddenly pass through the dark and silent sky of the artist’s mind.

They only come and pass and their nature is not so much in the struggle to define something in detail. An idea is the Big Bang explosion of any phenomenon in a short moment. In fact, the initial idea is locked and one should catch it first and then make a suitable communication with it. So that, a writer can see what it is and what message it has. How many of its contents are useful and how many useless and bad it is. The behavior of the author and his recognition and intelligence in facing the idea is very crucial and necessary. I always fantasize about a good idea that something like a silkworm is going to metamorphose.

In my opinion, generating ideas or waiting to encounter an idea in any field of work, especially art and literature, requires mind training. In fact, ideas emerge from a person’s continuous focus on his field of work.

Let’s back to the Big Bang! I think that the birth of a human being is like a Big Bang! An idea is something like a fetus. Every living thing is an idea at first of developing, and by no means perfect. After we are born, our story is formed in life.

It is enough for an artist hook to get stuck on a thought or a mental hint. It doesn’t matter what conditions it has or what potential it has. What is important is your hook and a light that beams the mind.

For example, after that sperm reaches the egg, both of them now carry so many things with them. No advanced medical instrument or sonography device can record an image of the nervous system composition until the fetus has reached a stage of development. It means the story has not been formed yet and there are just some ideas whose contents are not clear. So, we need time! Time means analyzing, thinking, and caring about them!

Also, at the beginning of getting an idea, an artist cannot have a good ultrasound or scanning of his story. I mean something happened; that’s all! and the mind has got pregnant. A mother feeds an idea in her womb with health care and takes care to treat it properly. But there is still no news about the story and nothing has been formed. Neither color nor language nor sex or personal identity. We need time and proper behavior to meet face-to-face and become aware of the idea.

A writer is able to treat the ideas and if they are incomplete, derive another idea from them; Or rather, use its stem cells in another way. The artist’s Mind Training always keeps them in front of his eyes and thinks about them.

Each of us is a living narrative with the unique content we have on a structure of bones and muscles with the help of the power of the mind. This entire volume, which I refer to as „I“, the entity, is all derived from the initial idea. I think that the entity (Id) became a story or narrative when it showed the first true reaction. With the first CRY at the time of birth! The first act or perhaps it is more correct to say the first human being reaction to the light outside the womb.

Our baby is the idea of its own story or narrative and it grows until the end of its life and tolerates many changes and downward and upward course. That is, the same rising and falling action and conflicts that exist in creative writing and organize the type of work.

The author’s behavior also starts with the initial idea from the same lightning flash of his/her mind.

A spark in the mind and then absolute darkness and then the beginning of creation. In the following, focusing on it, monitoring every single detail, and figuring out its quality! By these terms, an artist can analyze an idea and try not to be fooled. Neither all ideas are perfect and neither is capable of being a story. Sometimes a bad idea can damage everything.

By going from one idea to another, I have actually followed a path that brings me toward a kind of revelation and showing up. The first idea has brought some things with it and we should pay attention to them. Maybe, I need to discard even the initial idea due to other ideas that have come.

By thinking about an idea and knowing it, the author reaches a kind of discovery. A tending reaction and unconscious understanding of events as if somewhere was waiting for his/her conscious reason and logic. Dealing with an idea is a completely subjective behavior that needs to be mentally analyzed a lot.

Sometimes the initial idea multiplies at an incredible speed, and reproduces various ideas, so that the author faces so many topics. One of the ways to work on ideas during experiments is to make short sketches based on them. For example, writing a few summarized sentences based on that idea. The magic of words automatically leads the writer’s mind to the narrative or, making a brief network of its potential and then see what happens then. Like playing chess. Every movement is an idea and it can define a story. Choosing a bad piece would make the author a loser.

Gabriel García Márquez said that writing requires nothing but patience. So, I believe that patience is the rule and framework of the author’s behavior with the first idea.

In fact, if the artist trains his mind for something he has a talent for, he may be able to have the right reaction when faced with the initial idea. This is directly related to the intelligence, and mental style of a writer. This style references the Mind Training as well. If we view creative writing as a mental network, we’ll observe that everything is interconnected. Ideas require mind training, and the Observation Room nurtures ideas, and ultimately, creativity nurtures them.

About this topic, I will give a personal example that is experimental and related to one of my short stories.

Many years ago, I was sitting in a cafe and smoking. Out of curiosity, I started to open the cigarette pack and remove the stickers that were used to make the pack. Finally, it turned into a rectangular piece of paper with things printed on it.

It was like this the upper third was the red typography of Winston’s logo and the lower third was Winston’s white typography on a red background, just the opposite of the top. But what was in the middle third? There was apparently an idea.

The middle third was white, with an eagle printed in gold on it with its wings spread. My mind started to fantasize. I don’t really know how Winston’s red color and golden eagle painted an image of a woman in my mind. The golden eagle was going to fade into a woman’s hair and make her hair blonde. A blonde woman with red lips and a thought flashed in my mind and I forgot it a few hours later.

A long time later, one night, I was invited to a party. The host’s house had a big balcony where smokers had to go. On the balcony, I noticed a girl standing and holding the edges of the fence with both hands. Sometimes she put her head forward and vomited in the street. Suddenly she noticed me and turned her head towards me. I felt that she was so sick.

She asked me: Do you have any tissue paper?

I noticed that her clothes were dirty. She started to clean her clothes. She said that I drank a lot and I was sick. Then she got up and passed by me, came back into the house.

A few days later, I remembered these observations again. The keywords were: She was standing alone and throwing up. I thought, what images come to mind or what do people think about when they are throwing up?

This question itself was an idea. Derived from another idea! One day I suddenly remembered that golden eagle on the cigarette pack. I imagined the girl in the image of that blond woman. I thought she could throw up too, but not at a party. My hook was stuck and I kept playing with the golden eagle and the girl and vomiting.

Maybe two months later, I finally wrote the first draft of a short story! The woman I imagined on the cigarette packet came into the story with blonde hair and red lips. But in my story, the blonde girl was not throwing up, but the opposite of her, a man was vomiting in his loneliness and thinking about his lost love. In fact, he was bringing up the memories, and the story was narrated in the first person point of view.

The vomiting of the girl on the balcony was a heritage for the male character of the story and the image on the cigarette also reached the girl on the balcony.

Most directly and simply, the red color of the cigarette pack and the eagle and the girl’s throwing up had gone straight into my Observation Room and were frozen to become material for a story later. What is most important to me when facing an idea is that it refers to the level of the author’s reaction to the first idea. By reaction level, I mean the regular alertness of the mind that searches to create and imagine.

In the Observation Room chapter, I briefly mentioned a personal memory from my military service days. A schoolgirl who gave me a gum, and I have never seen her again. This example has been with me for years, but I have never been able to write a story about it.  

As previously stated, it is the responsibility of the writer to focus on the story rather than personal memories. In Iran, during the women’s revolution against the mandatory Hijab, the police used rubber bullets to blind some of the protesters.

I witnessed a young soldier arguing with several girls who were loudly asking him, ‚If you see your family and siblings in protests, would you beat them?‘

This question stuck in my mind. I wondered what would happen if one of these soldiers or security forces recognized someone (maybe that high school girl from the point of view of a soldier) they knew in the crowd. Numerous thoughts flooded my mind upon hearing a sentence spoken by a group of young girls to the security police.

Despite being a personal recollection, it was stored for my professional use. Finally, after years, this material emerged from my Observation Room and transformed into a story idea. In my primary version, the story revolved around a police officer and a woman who had not been in contact for years but now found themselves facing each other in street protests.

Without delving into the details of the story, in fact, I am sharing a personal experience regarding the idea and observation over an extended period. This process can be either long-term or short-term, as illustrated by the story I shared about the party and the cigarette packet. The process of producing literature is mysterious, and the mind’s performance is truly magical, even surprising the writer.

This article is the first part of an abridged excerpt from the unpublished book „The First-Person Narrator That Is Me,“ originally written in Persian and translated into English for publishing an

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