Friday, August 24, 2012
One Part Perspiration
I am often intrigued by what inspires other writers. How does one come up with ideas like Terry Pratchett's Disc World? Or Douglas Adam's books (any of them)? Or Carrie Brown's elegantly worded and strung together book "Rope Walk" (or, for that matter, "Rose's Garden")? Was it an organized decision with charts and and careful plotting? Did they put ideas into a hat and pull them out as they needed them? Was it drugs? And can I get some? Or is everyone as disorganized and right-brained as I am?
A good example-- A long-distance friend once sent me a box of books and as I opened it, I paused briefly to wonder, "What if it's not really books?" and I considered the amount of trust we invest in people we've never met in this age of internet and computers and how we actually give those semi-strangers a certain amount of power in our lives when we do this. I pondered this over the next few days and how just giving or loaning someone anything, but especially books, can create a lifelong connection. Being me, it became, "What if a bad guy with access to magic could use this trust to gain access to people's lives . . . ." An entire novel (Troubled_Waters) was born of this idea.
My process is a wrangling of right brained leaps and moments of insight that finally fall into place. It's like bits and pieces collect in a box in the corner of my mind, and wind up tangled together like Christmas lights. No matter how neatly I wrap those strings of lights every January (okay--sometimes February . . . ), they wind up tangled up among the ornaments and that damn tinsel I bought once in a fit of nostalgia ten years ago and can't seem to exorcise it (It's not there when I close the box.Where is the stuff coming from?). * What I pull out the box every December never looks like what I put away the previous January and I don't know why. Likewise I cannot tell you how I got from the box of books to witch craft and an FBI agent anymore than I can explain the box of Christmas lights. It just does. Gravity. Careless handling. Magic.
What about you? Your best ideas. How did you arrive at them?
*On an unrelated note, I cannot help but think that Santa's DNA must look a lot like this--Various ornaments-glass balls, nativity scenes, doves, children's handmade snowflakes, clinging to the strands of lights, tinsel, the random candy cane . . .