I have an electronic notebook on my smartphone and writing pads at the ready at home in my office/writing room/library.
As soon as one hits, I get it down, either on paper or on the phone app. I use SomNote as it’s easy to export the text to an email, or have a version of the app running on my computer and just copy and paste. SomNote is great because I can use it anywhere.
Of course, it doesn’t work so well in the shower, so I’m still waiting for a waterproof phone. Or perhaps it can wait for a few minutes until I’m finished.
But, the trouble with that is, these ideas come so quickly and are sometimes so vivid that they need to be put down as quickly as possible. I have come up with the perfect dialogue for a tricky scene and played it all out in my head, and by the time I got to the paper, it was almost gone.
Perhaps a whiteboard and a permanent marker on the wall.
Or is that going too far?
A long time ago, I received a portable tape recorder for a present, you know, the one you can hold in your hand, and the tapes are so small you wonder how much will fit on them. The gifter said that when ideas came to me, all I had to do was speak. It was also voice-activated.
Needless to say that conjured up a few ideas right there.
But, I used it, but I found it quite weird to be talking, ostensibly to myself, in the car whilst driving home, or going to, work, and the curious looks I’d get from others. One thing it did teach me was that when a conversation was replayed, it would sound ok or most of the time, hardly what one expected a conversation would really be like.
So, because of that device, I learned to read out all conversations, and if they sounded stupid, they were.
So, ideas come in the shower, ideas come while driving, ideas come when reading the newspaper, and ideas even come when reading books.
This leads me to another point that I learned early on. Writers must read. Not only novels of their chosen genre, but any reference books that go with it. The research was, a friend and more successful author than I told me, was mandatory.
So too was the reading the classics, old English, and sometimes American, literature, to gain an appreciation for the written word. We might not follow those styles, but we can learn the majesty of the English language.
That author taught me a lot, though at the time I didn’t realise it. Perhaps I thought I was already smart enough to write, but I’m guessing that it took a long time before I felt my writing was worth reading before publishing it.
I don’t profess to have a full understanding of the language. I might have loved that school subject called English, and later in University, creative writing and literature, but not all of it soaked in. But writing is one of those odd things, that can take many forms and styles, but at the end of the day, if the reader understands where the story is going, and when at the end, is satisfied that it was ‘a good read’, then the author’s work is done.
The only trouble is, getting the next idea, and then they were withal to write a second book, or third. It is said everyone has one book in them. For those who can write more, well, that might be what might be called, a gift.
My trouble is, I have too many ideas, too many starts and brief outlines to work with, and I don’t know which story to start on next. I guess being spoiled for choice is a good thing, yes?