Where do you get your ideas?

13 09 2013
Some get there by space shuttle, some by bicycle, some by broomstick.

Some get there by space shuttle, some by bicycle, some by broomstick.

Okay, I admit, I’m looking for a quick post.  Between finishing off hiking the 4K peaks in NH, getting Archimedes Nesselrode ready for the October 15 launch date, and prepping an novel TBA for submission by an October 1 deadline, I’m just a tad squashed for time and attention.  But here goes.

Probably the single most frequently asked question of writers is the above.  We also get asked about the writing process.  Emerging writers look to professionals (some of whom, among the very famous, actually still write their own stuff) for some kind of secret that will unlock the door for them.  Honey, ain’t no key.  Gotta pick the lock like everybody else.

Here’s a sample from the Broad Universe Facebook page that summarizes a part of the process right nicely.  Phoebe Wray (Jemma7729 and J2, working on #3) started it off:
“Sometimes, characters just don’t behave. They go haring off in an unexpected direction that is alternately interesting and puzzling. I have too many stories banging around in my head. They keep colliding, like those old bumper cars I loved as a kid. It’s a pretty day. Time to get to work. Cheerios and blackberries first.”

To which Betty Cross responded, “I know how my novel should end before I sit down to write, and I know the major plot points too, but I let my characters tell me how to get from one plot point to another. I’ve been fortunate that way.”

Jackie Gruesbeck said,  “Some of us real life characters don’t always behave …. but we get there !!!!”  Amen, girl.

In the midst of my own project, I said, “Working on a draft of a novel I wrote several years ago. Suddenly I’m getting insights into the characters I never appreciated before. It demands a change of plot and revised ending to do them justice.”

To which Sunder Addams said, “When this happens to me, I try to remember to take a step back and consider, “OK, what do they know that I don’t?”

Phoebe came back in with, “Betty, I don’t really know how the book I’m writing ends, but I know the events that lead up to the denouement. I figure it will all come clear when I get there.”

And Betty wound up the exchange with, “Every writer has their own creative methods. Some of us arrive at The End by Space Shuttle, others on a bicycle, still others on a broomstick.”

To which Phoebe responded, “I’m not going to speculate on which of these transports me. +_+”

Me, I get there on two feet, with a backpack.

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One response

13 09 2013
Mary Jolles

Loved your final observation that you “get there on two feet, with a backpack.” It reflects what they say about writing about what you know. I think you should compile your stories about your hikes into a book.

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