With the National Novel Writing Month upon us, and Taunton Literary Festival starting 2nd November and running for two weeks, it looks like November is a month for writing. Maybe, with the darker nights and the necessity of snuggling under a blanket in the warmest place in the house coming upon us, it really is a good time to tuck ourselves in and start a novel, or at least a new writing project.
Jenny’s recent article, though, got me thinking. How do you even start a novel without an idea? How many people would even consider embarking on writing 50,000 words in 30 days? Not just that, but 50,000 words which actually coalesce into something that can be construed as a novel. I guess not everyone would approach such a marathon task in that way. Some will have their novel mapped out, organised, ready to just be written. Others will have at least an inkling of how it will go.
Deciding what your novel is about can be one of the easiest parts of the process, or one of the hardest. For many writers, they get their inspiration and off they go. Others have to mull it over, maybe for years, before they can see it as a story, something to write about. But where does that initial idea come from?
The answer, of course, is literally anywhere. The challenge is being able to recognise it. I can only speak from personal experience, but for me, my muse has been; dreams, mishearing things in a conversation, hearing things grossly out of context, or even typos.
So I was wondering… How about for other people? Where have others got their ideas from? It doesn’t have to be a novel, it can be a short story, or an article. Has there ever been a moment when you’re caught completely off-guard, maybe mid-conversation, or as you wake up in the morning, or half-listening to the news on TV and thought, ‘That would make a great story’? Or maybe you just sat down one day and decided, ‘Today, I’m going to think up a story’ and just did it?
If you want to share that moment with us, add a comment below.