I read an article the other day (I really should bookmark them as I can’t find it now!) that was about a new Stephen King book due out. It’s a collection of short stories – nothing unusual there. The difference is that he is putting a substantial introduction to each one, about where he was in his life when he wrote them and the thought process that went into writing them.
Now I am not a big Stephen King fan – I don’t really enjoy horror – ghost stories yes but horror’s not my thing. However – his “On Writing” is one of the best books on the subject I have ever read, both entertaining and insightful. It is just as much an autobiography as a book about the art. So I am excited about this one!
And it got me thinking – I thought I would share a bit of my own thought process – how my mind works (sometimes). And perhaps hear from some of you how you go about the business.
So as an example. A friend of mine has just fulfilled one of her dreams and been on an epic sea journey on a tall ship. I was writing her a welcome home message when the a line popped into my head.
“Seafarer wandering over the waves.”
It sounded really good to me – so now its going around in my head – a poem coalescing around it, snippets of lines and images coming together. It will probably bounce around in there for a while until it comes together.
While thinking about it though something else is coming through. A character – this vague woman who is wandering the sea – for some reason, maybe seeking something, maybe running from something – I don’t know yet. There’s not even a story there yet – that one will bounce around in my head event longer.
One of my favourite authors Stephen R Donaldson said that he likes to get two unrelated ideas and smash them together to see where it goes. Maybe I will do that. I have another idea – more fully formed though still with a long way to go. It is about the rise of a political tyrant. Now those two ideas do seem completely unrelated – and I wonder what would grow by trying to put them together – something surprising I think.
I will let them ferment some more – their time hasn’t come yet.
So what about you? How do the seeds of your works begin?