– Writers live on ideas and coffee. We’re very skinny geniuses.
– Yeah, right.
– No. I just made that up. That’s only the truth as writers project it. The truth is that writing requires ideas. Not just a single idea, but thousands. The scary part is not knowing where these ideas come from.
Twitter’s #FP Friday Phrases group is like an online, supportive Algonquin Round Table. The term ‘muse’ is bandied about with a tongue-in-cheek amusement by us in our witty sophistication.
It is perfectly plausible that some of us do have muses – not in the goddess sense, but – people who inspire us and help us achieve the ideas we write.
-That’s not how I do it, though.
Build on Something Done Before
If it’s alright to get snarky for a bit, Hollywood does this all the time. This sells well. The audience knows what it’s getting. It has been said that there are only seven stories ever told. And, to be fair, scientific creativity often works this way.
The only snag with this one is how the original idea boosted itself into existence in the first place.
Write What You Know
I write about situations I’ve seen or been in, because I hate research. If I have to, I will look at websites of nice houses that my characters could live in. Some people consider this procrastination, though. Obviously, I twist everything out of all recognition – that’s the ‘fiction’ bit.
– Ask yourself these questions. This is how I do it.
What would it be like if…?
Imagine this and this and this and then how would a person get out of that?
Where’s she going?
What are they talking about?
What has he got in that brief case? (Sometimes we never find out, even if we can see the golden light it emits.)
The only thing to bear in mind is that not every idea is a good one.
Back to my original question, then, where do ideas come from? There might not be only one answer. There might not be any answer at all.
One thing I’m pretty sure of is that there’s no point in asking writers. We don’t know. Ideas just happen. It’s luck!
And, to quote a popular saying of no defined origin*:
“The more I practise, the luckier I get.”
*I know it’s attributed to a golfer, but it’s older than that. He was quoting too.