Me: Okay, brain, it’s time to dig in now. You really are a writer, and you have an exciting new opportunity. You need an idea for a story.
Brain: Pffft! I am ze arteest! I do not look for ze inspiration, ze inspiration, it finds me!
Me: Well, yes, that’s true most of the time, but being a published author can’t only work like that, and we want to be one of those one day. First, you master finding ideas. When you start writing the story, you can let the ideas master you and take you in unexpected directions.
Brain: I would prefer to look at ze pictures of pretty men and ponder ze deliciousness of zis coffee.
Me: I…uh…yeah, me too.
But still, life can’t work like that. I’m the first to admit that my first novel (nearly complete as I type this) was the product of nothing more than a flash of random inspiration that sprung out of absolutely nowhere. The second novel (about 50% written) came while watching The Matrix. That’s the fun part. The work part comes 2.3 seconds later when, buzzing with excitement, I have to think of how on earth I’m going to spin that one cool seed of idea into a fully-fledged book. This means thought. A lot of it. Pretty words are just pretty words if they’re not saying anything. The story is as important – or moreso – than the language you couch it in, and not every nuance of plot or structure is going to present itself wrapped in a bow while you’re vacuuming or baking cookies.
Now, buzzing with excitement for a different reason – a fun new project a friend’s just asked me to be involved in (more details on that to come, I hope) – I need to start one step closer to the beginning. I have no clue what this story is going to be about. Prompts in the form of words and pictures have been generously offered by twitter friends, but none have so far really “spoken” to me in the way an idea has to for me to get excited about it.
Now, it’s tempting to procrastinate. It always is. The problem there is that I need to have at least part of this thing written by this Friday, which doesn’t give a lot of time for mooching around on the internet while I wait for my muse to hit me in the head with a rubber chicken. I need to think, to make myself be inspired by something. And I need to believe in myself, believe that the right idea WILL come to me. If you need me, I’ll be spending most of the morning on weheartit and browsing lists of fun words.
And drinking coffee and looking at pictures of pretty men, because hey, you never know.
Where do you find your ideas?