Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eye on the Starting Gate

A month ago you started browsing several branches of the local library by day and exploring the recesses of your fevered brain by night, in search of a seminal idea for your new book or short story. You find it’s impossible to guess, let alone decide, what to write about, although you do have ideas about what you should do—that high concept thriller that might bring in some cash, that paranormal high school tennis club that could make you a fortune. Still, something is holding you back.

You find yourself discarding each logical choice in turn and then, if you’re lucky, something unexpected happens. A seemingly random connection—let’s say between a salsa dancer and an Eskimo—scores a direct hit, demolishing the competition and leaving no choice but to tell this particular story, set in that particular place.

Has this happened to you?


If so, please share. If not, please share your own “starting gate” process.