On Idea Inception
As you write, random scenes, situations, characters, and vague plots drift about your mind like lost souls, occasionally bumping into your cerebral cortex—“Oops! Sorry.” Most are generally benign, but every once in a while a poltergeist sets up shop. It plagues your dreams, nips at your ankles, seeks you out in the shower. Quick! Write this down! Don’t drip on the keyboard!
Those guys are the ones we live for, because when their concepts and ideas fully manifest, they erupt, bursting into flames and become forged flesh! That’s when a book is conceived—and yes, ride out your rockin’ orgasm, then get to work. Write maniacally; ignore chores, mundane tasks, sleep, food.
My first novel, The Carrot—please buy, read, proclaim its greatness—was not the book I set out to write. I was working on a very different storyline, plodding along at a respectable pace. But as I peacefully typed, a wild pack of hobgoblins—some of whom you may know—attacked me. My heroine jumped out from behind furniture--Boo! My male love interest unfurled a lazy smile as I drifted off to sleep (don’t tell my husband!). Music sparked my imagination. Accents acquired faces. And it got worse…
Eventually, these specters completely possessed me, forcing all other work aside. Arguments, dialog, details, all thrashing against one another, and I was helpless to stop it. And why would I anyway? Take gifts when given. I’m not crazy. I doubt you are either—though crazy really sells!
But I don’t believe you can will this to happen. I don’t believe you can force the process. You can (and should) write and ponder and look both in and outside yourself, but if the spirit isn’t moving you today, if your mind is fried, if you’re in a non-creative place, walk away from the computer. It’s okay. It’ll all be there when you come back. Promise!
My advice: Be patient. Be kind to yourself. Let the ghosts rattle around for a bit. The magic will happen.
The influx of self-published books and their success in the marketplace is indicative of an open-minded audience willing to try unfamiliar names not backed by large publishing houses. It’s a truly great time to be an author!