I am so much a writer, the blessing (and curse) runs through my veins like nothing else in this world. It’s magical, like a predestined craft, a trade, a calling, even, that no other hobby or profession can satisfy. And I must have time to write. Correction, in this crazy world, I must make time to write or my life just feels . . . ordinary. Writing is my life. I wrote my first short story, about a crazy cat lady who died and all her cats ate her, at 10 years old. And look, I didn’t become a serial killer!? You’d think, “Whoa, troubled kid!” Nope. Not troubled (in that sense, anyway). But wildly imaginative, and a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Edgar Allen Poe shorts, et al. Enough said.
Many authors will tell you they come up with story ideas through occurrences in everyday life or through dreams / nightmares, and then outline them before sitting down to write them out. Not me. In fact, outlining really messes up my flow. I sit down and channel the story. It just comes to me. I’ll sit with no idea which story I’m going to write in (since I have five other books in progress at present). It depends on the mood I’m in. I’ll sit down in my office and place my fingers on the home keys of my Asus keyboard, feeling the firmness of them, waiting for the first words to come to me. And that’s just what happens.
Sometimes I will start slowly and speed up as pictures and ideas invade my mind, or, if I’m lucky, my fingers start smoking across the keys as I pound out a scene or two, even a chapter, in record time. When the temporary possession ends, I go back to read what I’ve written. When it’s good, I can’t believe I wrote it. I get humble but excited. When it’s bad, it gets deleted and I walk away. Simple as that.
I will say, though, that some ideas do come to me through everyday life occurrences rather than dreams. Dreams do sometimes play a role in my imaginative tales, but being out in society, people-watching, gets me the bulk of my material. I see people, I study their actions and body language; if I make eye contact, I decide what they’re thinking (or their thoughts literally fly out at me – it’s frightening!) and it fuels a character or scenario. Little do they know they’re supplying my story tank in some little important way. I wonder if they’d be flattered or weirded out by it? I’d be flattered, but I’m a writer, so I understand. How about you? How would you feel if you found out the reason for a stranger’s stare was that they were momentarily struck by your presence and that you’re quite possibly supplying ammo for a fictional character’s actions?