Regarding the Spark

Last week, edits for the third book in the Lila Maclean series were due (and by “edits,” I mean big revisions) AND final grades were due (and by “final” grades, I mean multiple stacks of projects to be commented on plus final calculations for four classes). I stumbled across the finish line somehow (it’s a miracle, frankly) but I couldn’t form sentences for awhile, and truth be told, my brain power hasn’t fully recharged yet.

Yesterday, I remembered that this post was due, and I couldn’t think of anything to write about. Usually, I’ll have some little spark that ignites any given item of writing, and the whole process follows from there.

So I thought and thought and thought. No spark.

Thought some more. Nothing.

Then this happened.

Me (to husband): I have a solo post tomorrow for Chicks, and I don’t know what to write about. I can’t find my spark.

Sixth Grader (over his shoulder as he walked by): You should write about a giant monkey robot octopus who blows up an island that the aliens took over.

Seriously? In one second? That’s more than a spark.

In fact, it’s all there.

Not just giant robot, but giant monkey robot, plus octopus!

Not just giant monkey robot octopus (so many character questions) but also action (explosion) and setting (island) and conflict/backstory (aliens took over).

That’s a whole book!

And couldn’t you see it going full-on movie too?

So wonderful, how his mind works.

It was fascinating.

My ideas do NOT come in all gloriously complete like that; they are much more more wispy and elusive. Actual sparks that led to books > “secret society” and “haunted opera house.” That’s the kind of shorthand delivered by my cosmic creativity channel.

Clearly need to boost up with some giant monkey robot octopus power, stat.

Also, if we could bottle the creativity of kids, we would be unstoppable. Just sayin’.

Readers, do your ideas come in fully formed? What do you do if they don’t?

17 thoughts on “Regarding the Spark

  1. My ideas are always half-baked! Cynthia, get your kid started on the first installment of his giant monkey robot octopus science fiction trilogy right away. What agent could resist that pitch?!

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  2. My ideas come fully formed. However, they come fully formed with a caveat. They suck! I think they are great till I try to put fingers to keyboard. I think that’s why all my stories are half baked, so to speak.
    I get all the ingredients in the bowl. I sift the dry ingredients of clues, red herrings and settings. together. I mix in the wet ingredients of characters and dialogue. Then I add the flavorful ingredient. You know what that is… emotions. In the right proportions. I fold them properly, not muddle them so flake. I get them in the oven, and the power goes out. The cake falls flat!
    But I keep trying new recipes. And keep finding new chefs to teach me! I am doing that right now. I have a new chef looking over my recipe as we speak. I hope she doesn’t expel me!

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  3. I can’t wait to read your son’s book, LOL! My ideas come in a variety of ways. It can be anything from an image to a logline of a conflict. But I’m thinking of your graph image right now and wondering which section of the pie to opt for – it’s between green, yellow, and orange.

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  4. I was thinking about how ideas arrive piecemeal to me as I worked on a new manuscript the other day. And it occurred to me creative ideas are like new friendships. There’s that first blush of excitement when I’m full of ideas and shy of details. But as the friendship matures so does the story line, to the point that as I approach the end the sentences finish themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Cynthia, what a fun post! And do feel free to bring your genius son to our first annual Chicks Inspirational Retreat and Soirée. He can be our creative consultant.


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