The idea fairy visiting while sleeping has to be my all-time
favorite answer. But I believe they come
from all over the place. And it’s different
for everyone. Sometimes ideas come to
the writer and sometimes we have to search them out. One story may seem to have bubbled up
directly from your creative soul, every turn it takes feeling organic, perfect,
meant to be. The next book’s nuggets may
have to be labored over and over and over until you have just enough to make
something of it.
I haven’t been at this long enough to have a fabulous answer
to this question of where my ideas come from.
But I do have an example so without further ado, I present to you,
“There’s a Doodle in My Noodle” by Carlene Mermaid.
I had time to kill before the show started. My adrenaline glands must have thought we
were preparing for battle because I was a little too pumped up. This was to be an intimate guy-sitting-on-his-stool-humming-his-sweet-folk-songs
type of show. Relaxing. So why was my foot tapping a hole into the
floor? My eager eyes darted around the dark table for something to occupy my
sweaty hands. That’s when I saw it. The
blank napkin. I immediately dug through
my purse to find a pen. Got it. This would calm me down. I knew
what it would be, what it always is when I have a few minutes to spare. A half face.
Always a half face. Whenever I
try to force the other half out, it’s wrong.
No symmetry, not even human looking.
Feverishly at first, I inked the left side of what came to be a man’s
slightly feminine eye. But it was a man,
I knew it. So I gave him a bushier
brow. And a thinner lip. A stronger jaw and the hint of a cleft chin. Shadows casting themselves from the table’s
candlelight showed me exactly where my half-face man needed shading. I took in a deep breath and let it out with
satisfaction. Another interesting
unfinished doodle. I sat back, able to
appreciate the candle on the table, the otherwise dark room, the big empty stool
awaiting its artist.
Finally the show started.
The first act was a big beautiful man whistling and playing his guitar,
singing of birds, dreams and a woman named Olivia. Then came the next, a hidden face behind a
curtain of long bangs but a soulful voice.
In a song, he told us he’d lost his British soul. With each, I couldn’t help but sketch a
little something that would remind me of the night.
And in the presence of these two who had bared their souls
for us, I had no choice but to give my half-face man the other side of his
expressions. Nervous that I would ruin
his one-sided beauty, I did my best to bring him to paper.
After a few minutes, I saw him for the first time. He stared back at me. He is someone. Someone I know. Someone I have to write about.
Please share where your ideas come from!