Margaret talks about story ideas.
How often as a writer do you say you are stuck for ideas? Plenty of times I imagine. But the truth is there are ideas all around us – if only we knew where to look.
Ideas can unfortunately come at all the wrong times, like when you’re in the bath, for instance, or just before going to sleep at night. I always keep a pad by my bed, writing on it the dark, not always able to decipher my scribblings afterwards. Or you might get an idea while taking your dog for a walk, so pad and pencil in your pocket, or a tiny voice recorder. Though you might get some strange looks when people see you speaking into it.
Or maybe you’ve already started your book and if, like me, it’s running around in your head at all times regardless of what you’re doing, then you must write down these thoughts also. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use the material but it does matter if it was something really good and then you forget it. You could use your mobile/cell phone to record little messages to yourself – though if you were in the middle of dinner in a classy restaurant and there was a sudden lull in conversation at the exact moment you spoke it could prove embarrassing, especially if you said something like “They need to make love.” As writers we all know that our work in progress is always circling in our head and we need to capture those thoughts before they escape.
But where else can we get ideas from? Real life? A new spin on a film you’ve seen? A newspaper article? An overheard conversation? They’re everywhere, aren’t they?
Except at that moment when you sit staring at a blank piece of paper and wonder whether you’re ever going to write another book again!