Sometimes an idea can come to you at the most inopportune time – when you’re on the toilet, in the shower, driving your car or at work – a time when you are unable to commit the idea to paper for future investigation. That’s what happens to me. I have found that my best ideas have come when I’ve either been at work, or in the shower, and both of those places I don’t have the ability to write the idea down. So how do I overcome this obstacle you ask? I obsess. That’s right, when I get the idea and I believe it to be a good one, my mind goes into overdrive, and I quite literally spend hours going over the idea in my head – to the point of near insanity. I build upon the idea, iron out any creases in it, and once I’m happy with it, then I begin to expand the story around that one base idea. A full story can be born out of a basic idea about one character, or location.
Let’s back-track a little bit first. What sparked me to start writing? You may ask. Well, that’s an odd situation in itself. Several years ago I attempted to write a few songs – but none of the ideas gained much ground. I was able to come up with a few lyrics, but on the whole, it was a gigantic waste. The best that I could come up with was based on a dare from a friend – he challenged me to write a song about Unicorns. Yes, Unicorns. It had to be epic fantasy in style, but not soft and girly like some people perceive Unicorns to be. The song had to speak of how ‘no-one can destroy the power of the Unicorn.’ All things considered, I was pretty proud of some of the lyrics I came up with, but of course, nothing came of it. Other than that, I’ve never considered myself to be creative.
So, how did I start writing books you ask? It started quite recently actually, February 2013 to be precise. Prior to that point in time I had never been a writer, nor did I consider the notion of writing books as a possibility for my future, but that changed.
As part of my university studies I was given the option to enrol in some electives – there was a wide range of options – but for some reason I decided to try my hand at the one that was called ‘Creative Writing’. As the start of the unit approached I started to worry, to me I wasn’t creative, so how was I supposed to do creative writing? Be it luck, coincidence of some kind of fate, somehow I was able to engage another part of my brain, and I opened myself up to the prospect of creating ideas. It still confuses me how that happened, I started thinking that I wanted to come up with story ideas, and my subconscious responded by giving me ideas. Since then I have written two books and I’m already over half way through my third, and I’ve still got at least another four floating around the abyss of my brain.
I know a lot of people are creative from the moment they are born, be it drawing or painting, writing or some other kind of creation, but I was not one of them. Some people have been writing for most of their lives, but it’s a very new thing to me, so I guess I’m probably the odd one out. Growing up I didn’t aspire to be an author, like any teenager, I wanted to be a rock star. It wasn’t until the creative writing unit that I actually started to think about writing stories, and I confess, I’m in love. Addicted. I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you finish a project and you’re able to get it out there, for people to enjoy. I still remember the feeling when I finished my first book Dark City. I quite literally jumped around the house, super excited. Granted, it confused my wife and she thought I was stupid, but there is no way to explain the thrill when you complete it, you’re excited, happy, giddy, but it also leaves you feeling a little bit empty too. Empty? I hear you ask why empty? Well, because you invest so much of yourself into creating the story, so much time and energy that when it’s done you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself because there is nothing more to do for that project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome feeling when you finish writing it, but you do tend to spend a little time afterwards wandering aimlessly – that is until you start your next project of course.
And now we go back to the start of the blog – the inopportune times when ideas pop into your head. Dark City came from the basic idea of the landscape. The city itself, a decrepit, nasty place was the first thing that came to me – when I was at work. So, I had plenty of time to expand the idea. As I thought about the kind of place the story was set in, I had to think about the kind of people that would reside there, which gave birth to the main character Tom. From there, the story more or less wrote itself. In quick succession I was able to come up with a plot, as well as additional characters. Most of the story was writing in my mind while at work, I just had to type it out when I was home. The same can be said for my second book as well as the third that I’m writing at the moment. I have no doubts that I will continue to think of ideas at the worst possible times, but I also have no doubt that I’ll be able to work them into interesting stories. As long as the ideas keep coming, I’ll keep writing.
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