Flying Trapeze--And Other Wonders of the World

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Novelists... fashioning nets to sustain and support the reader as he falls helplessly through the chaos of his own existence."

~~Fay Weldon

The quote above was my only planned post today, but an amazing thing happened this morning: an SNI (shiny new idea) for a novel struck out of the blue.  The SNI is simple and awesome (IMHO) and I'm not going to tell you one word about it.  I'm a "don't let the fizz out of the bottle" kinda guy; plus the Idea is still too fresh to chat about responsibly anyway.

Truth be told, the two existing novel ideas I tote around in my rucksack are really great but they don't, as we say in the Service, "brief well."  In other words, I don't yet have a clear idea of how they tick (they are both still at the outline/treatment stage.  I wanted to get a few more shorts and exercises under my belt before I commenced).

But this Idea is different, and seems unrelated to anything I've been working on lately.  It's clear to me what needs to happen in the SNI, how it will all work--so much so that I may push it to the front of the line when I take the novel plunge later this year.  New SNI's are always the shiniest, so I'll give it a few-day cooling off period--but at this moment, this Idea is really rocking my world.

Geez!  Inspiration couldn't have hit me harder if it cracked me over the skull with a sledge. 

When I get an SNI, I'm like the guy who answers the door in his boxers to sign for the unexpected package.  It's a real mystery.  Truly that internal mechanism that produces SNIs floats way out beyond the reach of my consciousness or understanding.  No wonder the Romantics concluded that good writing came not at the command of the author but at the whimsy of the Muse.  Yes, I don't know the source of my own inspiration, but no matter.  It troubles me not.  Actually, I'll go one step further: it works for me. 

And of course, oversharer that I am, the current jazz in my head compels me to share it with you.  And then ask you about it.  So it's your turn.  Where does your inspiration come from?  What's your latest or best "flash of inspiration" story?

6 bolts from the blue:

Postman said...

That's awesome, friend! Congratulations on this latest and greatest of SNIs! (I'm stealing that acronym.) Hope it pans out for you.

Beats me where my inspiration comes from. If I have a Muse, she must be running a circuit, 'cause she doesn't get around to me often. If I really sit down and let my mind wander, though, all sorts of ideas come through. My latest one concerns (lo and behold) flying. It's actually sort of a rendition of that cargo company I someday hope to head. Ensemble cast, amazing adventures, hilarious hijinks, the works.

Thanks for sharing...the enthusiasm is infectious.

Cindy said...

Lol, I LOVE how you describe your SNI--and how it hit you.

My ideas usually come from bits of conversations or other books or movies. Something that sparks my creativity and then shuttles my mind into a whole bunch of "what if" scenarios. Again, it works for me. I only wish that all my new ideas were in the same genre :)

My latest idea is far enough out of my scope of comfort that it intrigued me too much to wait on it. Now I'm 3,500 words in, still wondering if I'm crazy for doing this, but enjoying myself nevertheless.

Scott said...

I have no clue where my inspiration comes from . . . well, most of the time. I just sort of go with the flow and hope for the best. There are times when my Muse is quite contrary and doesn't provide any inspiration at all. There are times when she overloads me with inspiraiton and I just can't keep up. There are times when she tempts, teases, and taunts me. Ah, my dear, Muse, is a bit unpredicatable at times and I never know just when I'm going to get to run full steam ahead with an idea. : )


Jon Paul said...

Postie--Hey, that cargo company idea sounds fascinating. A novel, I'm guessing. Where you at with it?

Cindy--You're going to totally laugh, but I was up this morning and had planned to work on one of my shorts. Instead I banged out an ten page outline of the SNI--we're going to codename it "Eskimo"--and came up with a popping first few paragraphs. Like you, I feel like I'm plunging in somewhat against my will--am I crazy or what?. The next few days will reveal whether I'm in whole hog or whether this is a passing fancy. The SNI still shines though!

Scott--keeping up is the trick, right? I'm not particularly fastidious, but I do tend to meticulously track my ideas, snippets of description or dialogue using an Excel spreadsheet. I've lost too many nuggets over the years--and I hate that feeling when I know I had something good but can't remember it.

Thanks for stopping by guys!

elizabeth mueller said...

Hi Jon Paul!
Thank you for following my blog--its always nice to see a new face and the encouraging support of your wonderful comments.

You are a tease (about your SNI). But I know how it goes. with those SNIs. Its much too fresh, to new, to share just yet and you don't want the purity of it to become polluted by sharing. ;)

Where does my inspiration come from? Ultimately, a Superior Being, really. But I am led to write full fledged novels by a simple thought. A piece of music. A dream. A tree. Clouds.

I catch my inspiration like a hungry spider in a large net of sticky web. :D

Jon Paul said...

Hi Elizabeth--yeah, I know. I really should talk more about SNI's but it always makes me feel funny. Either I feel like explaining it makes the idea sound dumb, or I have this irrational fear that someone's going to lift it, run away and write a better book than I ever could.

Obviously, it's something I'm going to need to get over.

I like your metaphor; it evokes images of a giant web full of publishable ideas. Cool.

Thanks for stopping by!

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