I don’t remember where I saw this quote, only that it went something along the lines of “Writers are just people who notice their ideas and turn them into stories.” Or something along those lines.
I was chatting with a friend on Facebook and she asked where I got my ideas for my stories. Truth is, most of my stories start with the tiniest kernel of, “Well, what if this were to happen?” and then I can’t stop playing with it.
The idea for LuLo came from walking out of a gymnastics meet with my sister in law. What if a collegiate gymnast fell in love with a scruffy parkour guy? She was Talulah, one of the names I had put forward for my kid, but my husband had vetoed. I thought about naming him Reese, but then she became Talulah Reese and suddenly she was a person. He was still nameless, but I had an idea of what I wanted from him. Her opposite in so many ways. Then I was watching Doctor Who and this slightly annoying character named Tallulah showed up and she was in love with pigman Laszlo. A little research into the name Laszlo et voila, he’s got a backstory and we’ve got a big fun sandbox to play in.
It’s fun when you catch a wisp of a story. A little something will float past your subconscious and you go, “Waitasec. What the hell was that just now?” And you grab it and look at it and poke at it and find a blue papermate in your purse and ask your waitress for extra napkins and write like a crazy person and get the guts of your story scribbled down.
Usually those kinds of napkin stories are persistent and won’t leave you alone until the story is done. Those are convenient because then you just *blup* and there is your zero draft. There’s no, “Okay, I really should write something tonight.” It’s more of a “Well, I can’t stop thinking about this story and it just needs to come out and you know how my brain is, but we’ll get brunch when I’m done,” kind of thing. It’s waking up from a dream and going to the desk and working before the sun is up.
Sometimes, that strike of inspiration will just hit and it will be amazing. Game of Thrones spoiler!
Well, after the Hodor episode, I had chills. Both because of what had just happened, but that stroke of inspiration. I can’t imagine both how giddy and sad George RR Martin was to come up with that Hold the door! Hodor business. That little feeling is the best. And I love how well it weaved into the story, how perfectly it fit. It’s finding those characters and what they do and who they are. I thought it was perfect. Well, not perfect, because what the fuck. Don’t kill Hodor. 😦 But it was pretty perfect, actually. From a writer’s standpoint, it was about the most perfect thing I could think of.
I don’t think anything I’ve written is that bone chillingly perfect, but it’s fun to work at it and it’s fun to practice. It’s fun to go gold panning in my head, swirl around all the stuff, see what sparkles. Or, in the parlance of Firefly, SHINY!! 🙂 I’d love to just peep inside someone else’s head, watch their creative process, watch them pick up a little piece of something and go, “Hey, I’d like to read a story about that,” then watch them write it, watch them piece it together. In any case, I think Einstein was right. “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” All these little disparate bits of stuff getting stuck together and becoming something.
What are your favorite moments of creative discovery and what are you most proud of?