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July 3, 2012 / diannegray

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?’  
“Chalk dust?”

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!


Leave a Comment
  1. Shannon M. Howell / Jul 3 2012 11:38 am

    I loved this. Your potted plant example actually reminds me of my garden. It’s still a WIP, but pretty much there were a few logical decisions and the rest was, “hey, I like that plant,” including once when I drove by a local school and they happened to be having a flower sale fundraiser.

    You have a very nice way of describing things – and a nice writing voice. 🙂


    • diannegray / Jul 3 2012 9:21 pm

      Thank you Shannon – I really love my garden as well. They are always WIPs and that’s what makes them beautiful because they are constantly changing and growing 🙂


      • Shannon M. Howell / Jul 3 2012 9:51 pm

        That’s true about constantly growing… except for my dead nettle. It was doing really well and suddenly is trying to “live” up to its name. It died back last year too. I think I may remove it next year. I don’t like frustrating plants.


  2. Joe Pineda / Jul 3 2012 7:09 pm

    Exactly. Being a writer is something you live. Everything, from the simplest questions and the simplest answers, can push you to write your next story.


    • diannegray / Jul 3 2012 9:26 pm

      Totally agree, Joe – I think of stories everywhere, from driving the car to going to the supermarket. And I love the fact that everyone has a story to tell, no matter who they are or where they live or how young or old they are 🙂


  3. debutauthors / Jul 7 2012 3:34 pm

    Hi Dianne, thanks for looking at my blog ‘Stuff’. That gave me the opportunity to read yours and, boy, do I agree. Seems we were the two the teacher picked on. When I was in grade school, teachers sat everyone by last name. Mine began with ‘T’ so back of the room. I’m short. Usually seeing over the heads in front of me was a challenge. Staring out the window instead was fun because, yep, the alien ship could be a falling leaf transporting mini agents of destruction that would get under your skin and cause you to go crazy. A very large (due to radiation exposure) Charlotte the spider could crawl down the window, break it, crawl inside and eat up the nasty teacher. Raising my coffee cup to ya and to all who daydream.


    • diannegray / Jul 7 2012 9:11 pm

      That’s wonderful! Those at the back of the class dreaming are usually the creative ones. I’m really enjoying reading your blogs, too!


  4. leighkgb02 / Jul 8 2012 6:10 pm

    I’ve always seen the world, especially my writing, in this perspective and thus far I haven’t found many others who share it or understand. So I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for 1. understanding and 2. phrasing the concept in such a way that maybe even my biggest critics could start to accept.


    • diannegray / Jul 8 2012 11:06 pm

      Thanks Leigh! Take no notice of the critics – it’s so much easier for people to be critical of you than to try and understand you 🙂


  5. wsj2day / Jul 10 2012 5:32 pm

    as my mother told me back when i actually “listened” ‘if you love it, no matter how hard you may think it is, it’s worth it’ as usual she was full of . . . it ain’t easy and sometimes it’s plain mind-numbing! but each sentence just follows the one before it and all’s good (except when you get the ominous “rejection” letter) great post


    • diannegray / Jul 10 2012 9:16 pm

      Thanks Willie – I love your pictures and think your mother was right! It’s always worth it when you love it. Rejection letters make great bin liners:)


  6. callmelu / Jul 13 2012 11:52 am

    Wonderful post,agree with you!!! 🙂


  7. 1girl4adamwest / Jul 15 2012 12:11 am

    I have enjoyed each word you have written here! AWEsome!!!!!


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