Tuesday, 21 April 2009

From out of nowhere

One of the most common questions asked of writers is: 'Where do you get your ideas from?'

This generally applies to fiction, as non-fiction ideas, or subjects, seem far more clear cut - if you're writing a biography, for example, the genesis of the idea is (in most cases) obvious.
At least that's what I thought.

I was in bed last night, with my Muse snoring gently by my side, trying to fall asleep while last minute thoughts about a media training course I was running today flitted around inside my head. Then, from out of nowhere - and I mean completely nowhere - an idea arrives. It doesn't just sidle in with its coat collar pulled up around its neck and lurk in the corner. No, this one explodes. Eyes open, a real sitting-up-in-bed moment.

The birth of any new idea is met with a mixture of excitement and despair, as my growing list of 'to do' projects will soon dangle as far as the upper reaches of Hell. What's frustrating about this latest idea is that it's a non-fiction book - and I've told myself (and my ever supportive Muse) that once The Manx Giant is done and dusted, I'll be focusing all efforts on fiction.

But, damn if this new non-fiction project isn't enticing. It arrived fully formed, with bells and whistles. It's very much a concept piece, and - in my opinion - would be hugely commercial. It's got TV tie-in potential, a ready-made publicity campaign and I've spent the last 24 hours looking for the flaws in the idea. Not found any yet, other than some minor hiccups that could be easily addressed.

Ultimately, it's not time sensitive - other than if someone thinks of the same idea and steals my thunder. So for now I'm going to let it stew, look at it again in a few weeks and see if my initial excitement has been dampened.
As much as I'd love to get a proposal package together to fire off to agents, I know I need to concentrate on fiction, for the sake of my own sanity.

At this stage, it's imperative that the Muse doesn't find out about this new idea. If she hears it's non-fiction, and might delay completing Quackenbush (again), my life won't be worth living. Again.


Down the Rabbit Hole... said...

Sounds intriguing! I would map it out and then put it in a drawer somewhere until you're ready to test out your future enthusiasm for it (you've proabably already done that lol). Just bribe the muse with chocolate or whatever muses can be bribed with to keep quiet for a while. P ;)

Kate said...

It's weird how the muse can hit you out of the blue like that! I generally run with it when that happens. :-)

John Quirk said...

Cheers, Kate and Pippa - not mapped it out yet, but will do and then bury it for a while. As for muses, you won't be surprised to hear that, yes, chocolate does tend to do the trick...