Or indeed a part of a story. No this is a ramble to try and understand where ideas come from.
I have been reading the excellent book KLF by JMR Higgs. A study of the band and the creative driving force behind it, Bill Drummond. I am about half way through and it is one of those books where the text is causing the creative part of my mind to go into over drive.
I’m currently at the section talking about the film “Watch The K Foundation burn a million quid”. Specifically the bit about screening it in Alan Moores home town of Northampton. It describes Moores thoughts on the often asked question of writers “So where do you get your ideas from?”.
Honestly, I do not know for definite where my ideas come from. i can trace some of them back to things I have read, or heard but the majority just appear. One of my favourite parts of the writing process is where the characters become almost self aware and start doing things that you had never thought of and all you do, is write down what is happening. No idea why this happens and in discussions with other writers, it is a common occurrence.
Is it some form of magic? Some communication across the realities? Or more likely, just what happens when you get into the groove of writing? I do not know.
Lets take my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel. “The Search For Goth Disco”. Now I had planned this to be a story about what makes you happy. It starts off with a man collapsing on union Terrace crossing and begging someone to kill him. he is watched by an observer who knows how he feels. At that point what I was trying to say was that happiness can come in any form and is just as powerful as any emotion, in this case sadness and despair. The rest of the story then veers through a Gary Numan Tribute band, lights under the sea, a cross dressing WW2 soldier, victorian porn and yetis living under Mounthooley. No idea why these diverse ideas found there way in (and there will be others that I have forgotten as I have not read it in years!) but they did and from those who managed to read the whole thing, they all tie together in some strange way to tell a story. i have called it a free form Jazz read, simply because i cannot believe what the end result became, even though I was the one writing it. There are parts I am incredibly proud of and bits I wish I had not written. Overall I am pleased with it, despite not really knowing how it all came about. The initial intent to write about happiness was lost along the way (I think) but since it was a first draft, I did not worry too much about it. i often think i should go back and edit it into a decent read but there is something quite lovely about it existing in this state, warts an all.
Novels since then have all seemed to revolve around alternate realities. I blame comics for this. Well that and the fact that as I get older, I struggle to make sense of the world around me. i am sure I am not alone in feeling this. However the alternate reality and the possibility that we are not seeing what we should all appeal to the conspiracy theorist within me. It still does not explain the ideas that appear when i am writing, not fully, it just gives a reason why they may be appearing.