I have a bunch of new coworkers, and inevitably, people ask about where the ideas for a novel come from.
Ideas are fickle beasts, and I’m lucky (or cursed depending on your view) to get many ideas and in a whole range of development: everything from a scrap of an idea to whole novels downloaded into my brain with everything down to chapter titles. Where does that come from? I know people often point to something mythical and religious, but I feel like that’s the easy way out.
Also, science. There have been a few studies linking depression and pain with the part of the brain that creates (I’m too lazy to look up the studies and direct you, but master Google could help you out if you just take a minute).
I’m not going to lie, it makes only too much sense to me. Whenever I’m in pain―physical, emotional, you name it―a book comes out of it. If the event is big enough, more than one book.
I wish I could say that my books come from a place of beauty and grace and that all the good in the world contrived to make me and my books what they are. Let’s be real: when chased by a predator, it’s not the hope of surviving that motivates your feet, it’s the fear of the pain. And so to with my writing. Spear me in the heart, and a book will appear. I’m not saying I don’t have books written without pain, but I know myself, I’ve never been motivated by the carrot. I’m all stick, and so are my writings.
And how about you, are your books more stick or carrot? And for a real can of worms, which do you think makes a better book and why?