As Archimedes might attest, inspiration strikes in the strangest of places.
For me, it’s an inevitability when my mind starts to wander and I have two primary locations; walking the mousehound or in the shower. I’m certainly not alone in this phenomenon, Stephen King credits the idea for The Mist to a particularly dreary trip to the grocery store and Suzanne Collins attributes an evening flicking through TV channels as the inspiration for the Hunger Games.
The problem however is not having the idea, but developing it. This is my Waterloo, to borrow a turn of phrase, that terrible and exhilarating moment when for an instant I see a perfect visual of an idea taking shape. It might be an image or a turn of phrase, sometimes it plays like a poorly focused YouTube clip and sometimes it’s as simple as a picture of a flower in the grass. But it amounts to nothing if I do nothing with it and here too I suspect I am not alone amongst aspiring authors.
In describing his writing process Garth Nix estimated it took about a year of working from that initial spark to setting pen to paper. While this clearly proves very successful for Nix, I’ve nurtured too many of my ideas long past that time with little to no progress so it’s time to abandon the cautious approach.
My challenge then, and a challenge to anyone who reads this blog, is to start getting that inspiration out of my head, off my hard drive and out into the world. It might be flash fiction, it might be drabbles, it might even just be a basic writing prompt but from now on I’ll be participating in #StoryFriday and I’m starting with a writing prompt:
WP: It’s 2018 and Project Breakthrough: Listen has just announced to the world that evidence of intelligent life has been found, where are you and what are you doing when you find out?