Friday, July 04, 2008


I had a sudden Eureka moment yesterday, in the bath of all places! A brand new idea for a novel popped fully formed into my head, leaving me splashing around because I had no paper or pen to hand to make notes. I remembered what I could, got out, got dry and scurried off to jot things down. That sort of lightning strike doesn't happen very often and it can be rather frustrating when it does; it's as though an entire novel has suddenly been downloaded into my brain - plot, structure, characters, even chunks of narrative and dialogue. If only I could find some way of hooking myself up to a computer and re-downloading it onto disk, it would save an enormous amount of hard work and trouble. It never works like that, though, does it? That would just be *too* easy. LOL. Instead I have to hoick it out bit by bit over months or even years, and by the time my typing has caught up with my brain I've forgotten most of the original inspiration. Sigh. Who'd be a writer? ;)

So, where does inspiration strike you? Bath? Bed? While you're asleep? Half way round the supermarket so you start babbling about elves or monsters in the middle of the home baking aisle? I'd love to know!


Caroline Dunford said...

My best inspiration arrives after I've done some activity I never normally do, when I've given up or in discussion (when I try to work out a dead end plot point.)
I say discussion but usually it involves me talking at some poor person. I used to do this with the cat, but she died. :(
When I used to write Slipstream I wrote my dreams - often literally.
As for downloading stories, I did write a short about that called the Squeezeman. Unpublished - too frightening for mortals. :)

fiona glass said...

"I used to do this with the cat, but she died. :("

Oh dear, I hope those two things aren't related? :P

I think in my case the inspiration comes when I switch off completely, and ideas that are usually drowned out by all the jabber in my brain start floating to the surface.

Zathyn Priest said...

Inspiration usually turns up for me when I'm lying in bed trying to sleep. I get entire scenes in my head, conversations, all sorts of things. The problem is I'm usually too tired to drag myself toward a pen and paper. I think the time has come to invest in a voice recorder!

fiona glass said...

Voice recorders are good, except that I hate the sound of my own voice! Having lost a couple of brilliant late-night ideas through falling asleep, I now keep notepad and pen in the bedside cabinet and can scrabble around for those, in the dark if necessary, at need. ;)

Allison Elder said...

I get ideas after reading a good book or watching a good movie. I go around for days fitting a character into the world of whatever I just read or watched and eventually the character gets tired of being pushed into a storyline that isn't its own.

Of course, then I usually wind up pressing the character back into a box, because it's not what I'm trying to work on at the moment. I've got at least three crates FULL of characters in the back of my mind, and they all like to stage jail breaks.

fiona glass said...

I'm glad it isn't just me that 'rewrites' the endings (or even the whole plots) of books, films etc. :)