or, How to Recognize Ideas that Will Inspire Your Writing (Part 1) Different writers compare great ideas to "shimmer". What is it and how can it help us?
The novel I’m working on now came from such a shimmer, more then 10 years ago, when I was reading a book about Mongol history. The minuscule scene I wrote then lived on the hard drive for years while I worked on other projects (or worked on nothing!), slowly collecting a story around it. Great article! Stories can come when least expected, but when we learn to recognize that shimmer, that streak of blue silver, then we realize they are everywhere
"I’m writing snippets and scenes haphazardly. An idea will come to me based on something completely different, and I’ll feel compelled to stop everything and write out that scene."
My first few novels I wrote linearly. Started at the beginning and worked my way through to the end, never straying from the arc or the timeline. But my best novel was written in the "haphazard" way that you described. A scene, moment, conversation between characters would enter my brain and conjure an emotional response. For me, that's the Blue Silver. If I'm laughing or crying about something I completely made up in my brain - that's a signal to me that I've got something. Something that will move someone. I wrote that last book completely out of order. It made the revision process A LOT more difficult and jigsaw puzzley. But the writing process itself was so enjoyable for me, it was worth the extra effort on the back end to turn it into something consumable for others.
Great piece, Graham. Thank you!