A couple of days ago I was thinking about how much of my writing is triggered by observation; maybe it’s only a small thing I notice, a knowing glance, an unexpected movement, wind creating ripples in an unexpected direction across water, a strange cloud, a peculiar atmosphere – whatever it is, something will catch my attention. That little thing will lodge in my mind and I’ll play with it, thinking about it in different ways, I’ll imagine different scenarios for that small observation, create different backgrounds and outcomes, merging several of those small things together until a scene or characters begins to evolve.
That observation is key, my imaginings are just what I do, but they are crucial to devising plots and story-lines and things unravel and develop in an organic way. Sometimes working on what might become a short story or a novel, or a scene in something else comes to a full stop. Or maybe while I’m doing it – maybe just in my head, maybe in my writing, something else jumps into the middle of my work. I sometimes have an unexpected inspiration and things take off in an unthought of direction. Sometimes I’m stuck, and spend quite a while, sometimes days and weeks wondering what’s happening, and I really wrack my brains, I really puzzle over what ever it is until the key thought occurs. Sometimes hard mental work pays off, sometimes it’s a flash of inspiration, the firework that lights up the sky, the lightening that illuminates a dramatic scene, a light suddenly turned on.
I’ve written a great deal in the past about my ‘P’s‘ – people, place, plot, point of view, pace, purpose, polish, but all of those elements happen when the the ‘tions‘ are in place, observation, imagination, inspiration and maybe illumination!