There’s a blaze of light in every thought
People often ask me where I get my ideas for stories. I guess it happens with a lot of things you do, not just writing. You buy an old cupboard with a few missing drawers so you line it out and put a pot plant in it. Voila! ‘Where did you get the idea for that?’ people ask. Hmmm – it kind of just moved from one thing to the next. If I didn’t see the cupboard and if it wasn’t a ridiculously low price and if it wasn’t missing drawers and I hadn’t had a nice pot plant I needed to put somewhere I guess the idea would never have come to me. Sometimes you don’t start with an intention to create something, it just happens.
It’s the same with writing. It starts like a small seed somewhere in that amazing thing we call a brain. Speaking of which – the thing that’s always fascinated me about the human brain is the mechanics are so complex that it doesn’t even understand itself. I could go on all day about that, but I’ll get back to ideas instead.
I had an idea when I put my book of short stories together. Most of my short stories have been published by mainstream publishers in anthologies, but there was no one book with ALL of them together. Ah – the beauty of the modern world – I self-published the lot in one book and called it Manslaughter and Other tears. Then I had another idea. The idea about the questions relating to, ‘where did you get the idea?’. So at the end of the book I wrote a couple of paragraphs about each story and what gave me the idea to write it. Most of the feedback I get from the book is, ‘I love the idea about where you got the idea.’
Ideas spring from creativity and creativity is about letting the child in you take over for a while. Children have fantastic creativity – watch them play.
Let’s make it that you’re the baddie and I’m the fireman and I’ve got a laser and then an alien comes down from the sky and then we jump into the space ship and then, and then, and then… They go on forever.
What happens to this creativity as we grow older? We don’t play Let’s Make It anymore (let’s make out, maybe). People who can tell a good story still have a part of the Let’s Make It game hidden somewhere in that complex machine between their ears.
If you’re a dreamer – please stay a dreamer, it’s a wonderful state to be in. I was always in trouble at school because I was bored and I’d stare out the window and think odd things like – what if a meteorite suddenly landed in the playground and a monster crawled out and then chased the headmaster and all the kids had to get together and I’d be the only one who knew that the only way to kill it would be by blowing chalk dust in its face.
“Dianne, face the front. Do you know the answer to the question I just asked?’
This is where the ideas come from – sitting, watching, imagining. When I wrote The Everything Theory (Between Gods and Shadows) the initial idea was seeded by a news report about the Antikythera mechanism. How did ancient people build such a machine? What if there are other machines out there that prove ancient people were far more intelligent than we think? What proof is there that this just wasn’t a one-off freaky find?
What I found when I started studying and writing about this absolutely blew me away and took me on the most amazing journey of my life!
Success comes in many forms but I believe the greatest success you can have is to allow your creativity to flourish and sow all those wonderful seeds stored up in that amazing thing called your mind!