Lately, I’ve been thinking about ideas and how they link into imagination and, ultimately, into the process we call ‘creativity’. It was kicked off when I bumped into an acquaintance who claimed that they had no (or few) ideas compared to others.
It’s a common question for writers: ‘Where do your ideas come from?’ The answer is, almost always, ‘Everywhere and anything’. In fact, it’s difficult to stop having ideas and the real problem is being able to focus on one (or a few) to turn them into a coherent work. There si just so much around us: all you have to do is look, touch, listen, taste… and wonder.
So what happens? Even if we struggle, we all read about where ‘ideas’ come from, how they arise, and how to feed them, but what are the processes around them? How can we have more ideas? How can we turn those ideas into something tangible?
I’ve started another book this year, this time YA, but still SF. One of the things that stuck in my mind from last years helping out with the Summer Reading Challenge is just how much some of the younger readers loved the books they read – and what it was they liked about them.
It would be great, I hoped, if I could inspire that joy through a book.
Song of the Stork by Stephan Collishaw
War is not a grand narrative, but the accumulation of grief on individuals and, here, a specific individual. I was unsure of its exact location, though there is a renowned Selo in Poland and numerous villages of Selo in Russia. Frankly, the exact location of the village doesn’t matter as the The Song of the Stork by Stephan Collishaw follows the life of a Jewish teenage girl during WWII, firstly after the Nazis come through and kill her friends and family, and then as she tries to survive the constant threat.
And the soul-crushing impact of the atrocities of war on an ordinary individual is what The Song portrays.
Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard
It’s rare that you pick up a book and find it resonates with your own experience, especially experience that is intensely personal. Just like the protagonist here, I once had an accident in which I very nearly died. Like her, my memory of the event has gone and I have no recollection of what happened: it’s a blank. I’ve also been closely involved with death and bereavement. Understandably, then, I was curious to see how other writers treat such an emotive combination. My experience has frequently resulted in disappointment as both are often treated too lightly or with little real insight.
It’s happened again: I’ve had to write the ending – the last scene or chapter – before I get there. Whilst I loosely plan out what’s needed, often rough out chapters and sections and use the Mythic Structure as an overall meta-structure, I occasionally write scenes out of sync with the rest of the flow. That’s fine – for me, it works. But I’m regularly writing the last scene way before I get there.
I’ve mentioned a few of these on the ‘Published’ section but it’s worth mentioning them again. The Claiming of Shamasai is an episodic novelette (ie a short novella) that’s been published by Warlord over the last six months. It’s now at an end but it has been great fun to write. It tells the tale of two individuals, both of whom are outsiders to their own kind, and shows how both are forced to react to the discovery of a a new – and dangerous – planet. Continue reading