Yesterday, SNOW SISTERS made her first live outing & went to a book fair. She looked very pretty & behaved impeccably.
While we were hanging out & having fun, in a galaxy far away, the charming Annie (THE MISSTERY) hosted Day Three of the blog tour here. And she left a generous review for me to come home to.
Annie also offered me a guest post. She gave me the freedom to write what I wanted & when the sometimes vexed question concerning ‘IDEAS’ cropped up, it gave me the opportunity to take a sideways look at it.
“The Nature of Glimmerings & the Unanswerable Question by Carol Lovekin
If I could choose a genre in which to place my books, it would be Quirky. Since authors aren’t allowed to pick and choose let’s call mine ‘contemporary fiction’ with hints of magical realism. (Which isn’t at all the same as fantasy, let’s be clear.) My stories are firmly rooted in reality. I explore possibilities: the fine line between the everyday and the world of enchantment.
I’m a feminist and my stories reflect this too. I explore family relationships: how people, women in particular, respond to loss and how they survive. My books have ghosts, although there are no clanking chains or blood-chilling wails. All it takes to embrace my ghosts, and the magic I conjure, is a temporary suspension of disbelief.
Enter my loyal reader, with her penchant for a quirky ghost story and a liking for strong women. And her question: ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’
Until I began writing seriously I would have claimed my ideas came out of ‘nowhere’ which is of course nonsensical. Ideas, however obscure, have to come from somewhere. And yet, paradoxically, the notion that a story must stem from a single concept is absurd.
It’s the word ‘idea’ itself I find problematical. It posits the notion that the genesis of a novel lies in an idea per se: a definable moment the writer can recall.
The origin of most stories is, for me at any rate, a random gathering of scattered thoughts; glimmerings as slender and obscure as a line in a poem or novel triggering a sideways digression. And as I forget most of my night dreams the moment I wake up, I’ve never dreamed a story into existence. Any I do recall are rarely logical – and I don’t write fantasy remember – so my dreams are unlikely to serve me on any level whatsoever. Day dreaming however is another thing entirely: it’s where glimmerings evolve, the ‘what if’ moments and barely discernible fragments that come out of left field.
Singular words have always appealed to me. I collect them: words like cwtch which is Welsh for hug. And more often than not, a single word can entice me and suggest a theme for a scene, or present me with an unexpected tangent.
My study overlooks trees and low hills. Some mornings the mist lies as heavy as sleep and it’s like living on an island. I like to imagine the Avalon barge emerging between the mists to collect me. It never does, and chewing my pencil I sigh, scan a sky full of birds and watch instead for the ones I call my word birds. They circle a tall beech tree, ignored by a big bossy crow – my hunched, feathery muse. (I kid myself it’s the same one every day – shouting kraa from the topmost branch, urging me to stop lollygagging and get on with my work.)
These word birds are my writing familiars; they drop their glimmerings onto my windowsill; leave words and phrases in the edges of my hair. I gather up these offerings and it’s anyone’s guess what they will become. Not all the words make it onto the page and many get away. Or I put them away, because no sensible writer ever throws anything out.
The glimmerings may not at first gift me entire plots or even vague outlines. What they do is hover in a ghost location in my imagination. The place where I wave my pencil wand and cast my story spells; listen for my word birds, in case they have more enchantment for me.
My loyal reader is a gem and I love her. The fact remains, next time she asks me where my ideas come from, I shall have no choice but to answer, ‘I have no idea…’ “
My sincere thanks to Annie. You can read more on her interesting blog: