Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Where to get ideas from?

Ideas seem to come in two forms. The first is a kind of magical thing that pops into your brain as if from nowhere. It might be inspired by an overheard snatch of dialogue between two people, a near-miss event (what if that had happened?), or a random thought. I've had lots of these, but in the main they don't feel solid and often I'll start writing and hit a block fairly quickly. These ideas get filed away for later, but I think the initial rush makes it difficult to return, even though the blocks are probably easily resolved.

The second belongs to a process. This morning I woke up thinking, I've actually finished my first attempt at a fiction book, and in a few days people I care about will have a beta version in their hands. But what do I do next? Despite the fact that it is hard, I love the process of writing and editing and so sitting back and doing nothing is not an option (I've also discovered that if you neglect your Forza 4 skills they disappear very quickly) so when I was awake at 5am this morning, I thought: "Right, let's have an idea..." I went through a ton of things from my past - some obvious, some obscure - and there were a few good things there that could be excavated, but nothing that you would want to hang 75,000 words on alone.

Next up I started putting myself into other situations to see how that would work. Then I started looking at objects in my apartment and thinking about the various associations I have with those things. And there it was: a germ of an idea.

So I have added three core characters (all fairly blank lego people at the moment), and started thinking about their relationships and the tensions that may arise between them. There has to be conflict, so if you have a happy relationship - and I thought it was important to have at the core a strong, stable relationship - where does that conflict arise. That's my next challenge. I have a partial solution based on ideology and history and the compromises we make in any relationship, but it needs a little thinking about.

I have a beginning, now I need the ending.

Oh, and while all this is going on in my head, I also need to think about what happens beyond the last page of the first book I wrote, because there's a whole world to explore there...

1 comment:

  1. Actually, what I wrote is slightly wrong, because what I have is the end, and then a jumble of events and - as I was getting some lunch just now - a tentative beginning. But the story needs to write itself backwards and it will have three focal points.