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April 22nd, 2005, 05:19 AM
"All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door."

Albert Camus

Having spent the last few weeks struggling to write anything decent (heck, writing my own name and address became a struggle) I then had a moment of random inspiration.

I was in my kitchen (nothing special about it; what you would expect from an all-male student kitchen) and was in the process of getting my dinner out of the oven. Then it hit me - an idea for a short horror story. It just came out of nowhere. I wasn't even thinking about anything in particular, and this thought just spun out of nowhere and slammed into my brain. The plot and dialogue followed and by the time I'd finished eating I already had the first part of the story written in my head. I sat down the next day and burned off about 3000 words in 2 hours. It just flowed. It just worked.

Have any of you guys experienced this before? A random thought just hitting you and suddenly you have a story? It is very satisfying when it happens, especially when you've been struggling for weeks unable to right anything at all. :)

April 22nd, 2005, 05:52 AM
wow, that's cool. :)
Great for you, good luck, hope your muse remains with you!
(You can write it in your head!? :eek: I wish I could do that).

I usually get ideas for stories after reading or watching movies, which makes me fairly unoriginal (although not always), but after eating? That's unusual. Where did it come from?

And yeah, for me it flows for about five pages or so. And then it stops, and maybe three months later I'll be able to continue.

You're lucky.

April 22nd, 2005, 10:07 AM
You had an ah-ha moment. Happens all the time. Writers can tell you great stories about trying to scribble on scraps of paper as they're driving a car, or being in the shower, etc. Ah-ha moments for writers tend to either come when you're doing something that does not require all of your brain's concentration, like washing dishes, or gardening, (I've gotten some good stuff walking dogs;) or when you are thinking very hard about something else, like another story or some problem; or when you see, hear or experience something that greatly attracts your attention, an odd turn of phrase or a strange billboard.

Scientists and non-artists get them too, often when they've been working very hard on a problem or research, and then go take a bath or a nap, and a new idea comes to them.

But my favorite are the mystery writers, because they'll take you to dinner and then have an ah-ha moment about how they could kill you in a story.

April 22nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
KatG's right. It happens.

It's great when it happens, everything just suddenly clicks into a glorious moment of absolute clarity - it's like your brain's working like mad.

The hard part is waiting for the next moment, the next burst of inspiration.

April 22nd, 2005, 11:54 AM
Mine all happen when I'm on the verge of sleeping/going to bed. I think it's because I tend to watch telly/surf the net/play poker so my brain is focused and active, then you have to try and switch it off to go noddy. During that time where your body is resting but the brain is still going like the clappers all sorts pop into my head. It's how my two main worlds came to be and also a horror short about a mirror that wrote itself right up until I blanked on the ending. Like KatG said random moments tend to come while your doing something mundane, like when you can't remember a word/name and are trying your damnedest to remember it. Then you go make some food or put the kettle on and click in pops the word/name.

April 23rd, 2005, 01:33 AM
I had one last night. I think I was reading in the post your progress thread and something about astral projection came to mind.

I lay down to go to sleep and BAM!

I fell asleep thinking about how to do a story about astral projections. I thought about it as I drifted off to sleep.

I dreamt.

I was a woman standing on a beach. Secluded from everything else in the world. I was nude. I was wathing silver fish glitter in the setting sun. I was performing astral projection.

My body wanted my mind back. NOW! It pulled hard. The collision of mind into body was disaterous. I crashed into the bath tub where my body was.

I woke up. I had the entire story embedded in my head. I sat down today and wrote the first 2500 words in about 2 hours time. I've got about 5-7K words to go at least before this story runs its course.

To answer your question, it'll happen to you more often than you can get the stories out. If I was a full time writer with few distractions, I might be able to write all the stories that come to mind. As it is, I must pick the brightest nuggets out and write those. I do have an 'idea list' for when I feel dry on story ideas, but before I put pen to paper (so to speak) I must feel that spark first. Now if only I could get to editing all that work I've done, I might be able to sell another story. :)


April 23rd, 2005, 06:32 AM
it happens to me al the time- usually when im idly watching the world pass in front of me on a bus or in a car , sometimes when i walk , i have no idea where they come from , they dont have any relation to what im seeing,! it must be th repetitive sound of the engine/footsteps i supose ...

April 23rd, 2005, 12:46 PM
I envy a lot of you. My inspiration is almost always the result of persperation. I don't know if I have ever had an ah-hah moment. It tends to flow (slowly, painfully, and sometimes not at all) from writing and reading.

What's funny is that I work as a progammer, and I with programming I have these ah-hah moments all the time. I will be on my way to work singing along to the radio when BANG, I come up with a way to solve a problem, or reduce the lines of code.


April 23rd, 2005, 01:51 PM
Okay, let's all try to get the image of Maus as a nude woman out of our minds right now.

You may get some ah-ha moments Michael where you figure out aspects of a story and just not have realized it. Or maybe you should be writing stories about programming. :)

April 23rd, 2005, 02:47 PM
Okay, let's all try to get the image of Maus as a nude woman out of our minds right now.

Trust me, I've been trying. :)

Some story ideas must be worked, I won't deny that, but for me, most start with an 'ah-ha' moment. A sentence, a scene, even an ending. But every story I write does have some flash point wether I know it or not.