Monday, September 08, 2008

How do they hit you?

So I was just having the following conversation with my electronic intern, Jodi, about the book she's revising (DELUGE) and a possible sequel to it (UNWATER) she texted me about the other day...

[12:43] Jenny: so tell me about UNWATER =)
[12:43] Jenny: i really do love the title
[12:43] Jodi: I don't know anything about it!
[12:43] Jenny: hehe
[12:43] Jodi: it just mugged me in the store
[12:43] Jodi: when I send you the next batch of chapters from Deluge, you will understand

And I want to know now, how do your books hit you? Do they mug you in the store? Do they come to you in the shower? Do you wake up from a dream with them? Comment away!


Natalie said...

One came to me when I was driving in the car looking out at the mountains. I said, "Wouldn't it be cool if there were dragons flying over that peak?"

The one I'm working on now came when I was cooking, and commented to myself, "It's a shame wizards just conjure food. It's so fun to cook."

Clearly I don't live in reality.

Just_Me said...

Dreams sometimes, or a character walking into a scene of my WIP and telling me that *their* scene is different.

One character went from being a no-name thug to getting his own book, another went from being a name mentioned once to being a full-time character.

Characters are demanding!

aimee said...

Mine "punch me in the head".

Though it's a very welcome punch. A punch of love and warm fuzzy excitement. :D

Kristine Overbrook said...

My first novel came to me while doing dishes.

My current, while I waited in the pharmacy.

Out of the blue. Bam! just like that. I work things out in conversations with writer friends, but the main concepts, or answers to issues, come in epiphanies.

Beosig said...

It's almost always while driving. I have an hour commute (one way, five days a week,) and my brain tends to wander while I'm cruising down the road on autopilot.

I've had to pull over more than twice to scribble enough notes to capture my idea for later writing.

Anonymous said...

1) hit me while selling wine to a complete idiot who cared only about the art on the outside of the bottle versus the art inside.

2) another was the classic 4am cold sweat.

3) holding a dead body (yes, it happened)

4) on a sunny afternoon when i had to get out to clear my head.

those are my four "crime scenes."

Ink Johnson said...

Mine tend to hit me out of sheer NaNoWriMo desperation.

Scott said...

#1 I wanted to write a book about kids using the school library to solve a mystery. Don't remember why. It has nothing to do with that now. No library, and barely any school. And it's not a mystery.

#2 I was reading Mistress Masham's Repose following surgery, when I got an idea in a pain-pill inspired brain burp. I recently found my original notes. The story has almost nothing to do with the original plans.

#3 I was working for three months in Germany, reading about German food and herbs in the Middle Ages, when I had the idea to write about a girl who works in a castle kitchen. Again, the story barely has that element in it any more.

I see a pattern. My WIPS have nothing to do with my original "inspiration" for them.

Lisa Iriarte said...

I dream stories from beginning to end, with characters, settings, names, dialog, etc. It drives my writer husband crazy because he really has to work at it. He may well produce better material in the end, but the beginnings are always easier for me.

Nancy said...

My stories and characters have come to me from totally different inspirations. My novel (still in process) came to me with suggestions of book titles, one of my stories was inspired by one of Ovid's stories in the Metamorphoses, and one of my personal favorites I swear I simply channeled out of thin air one day (it's in a voice I don't tend to write in and can be really challenging to jump back into). Isn't creativity random?

Nancy D'Inzillo

Zara Penney said...

My literary moments:

They all have something in common which says a lot about me I guess.

In the shower.
In bed at midnight.
Behind the steering wheel.

They are all spontaneous places where those sentences steer themselves along with literary brilliance even (Oscar Wilde would be jealous) and then when I get to land and recall them, of course all that genius has gone down the plug 'ole, blown with the wind, or snored away in slumber.

My ideas come with a great first sentence. Kind of like a dress you get on sale. It's one you've always wanted, by a designer to die for, but it's a size 10. That's not a problem. I'm size 16 so I'll just diet.

Jeff Lyman said...

I don't seem to get flash inspirations. I drag ideas kicking and screaming from my noggin. :-( Endings can take months and months, so I'm jealous of those of you who see a story from end to end.

Anonymous said...

They stopped hitting me the day they gave me a concussion. Now my ideas tap me gently on the shoulder - which is a much nicer way to be interrupted while driving, reading, or sleeping.

Anonymous said...

My best idea ever came while I was rocking my one-year-old son to sleep one night. I had two scenes pop right into my head. Those two scenes have turned into enough for a trilogy.

JeanieW said...

My ideas begin slowly, usually as vague images of settings and characters, when I take the time to think about where I want my writing to go next. The ideas come faster once I am in the midst of writing. Plot structure emerges while I am working and theme grows out of the first draft. Once I'm really moving on a writing project, ideas about that project (such as solutions to sticking points) interrupt other activities like showering, walking, sleeping. These disruptions are more common the more preoccupied I am with the work.

Anonymous said...

I found this Ray Bradbury quote, just out of the blue, and thought it fit here:

“My stories run up and bite me on the leg-I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.”