Friday, 28 February 2014

Space to think

Ideas for a novel suddenly present themselves at times I least expect to think of anything except the immediate task - sitting in a theatre or church pew, taking a stroll through a park on chilly day or climbing the spiral stone steps of an ancient castle. Sometimes, just sitting having a cuppa on a hazy, sunny afternoon invites inspiration.

Armed with a laptop and iPad, painfully writing out chapters by hand is not an option. I can write anywhere and have been blessed with the ability to completely switch-off from all distraction and focus completely on what I am doing. I take my equipment to outside benches, parks, cafes and pubs and when I do not have anything with me then I rely on a small handheld notebook to hold those sudden bursts of inspiration and my iPhone for visuals.

But, it all goes back to the single idea that forms out of the ether, moves me strongly and then lodges itself firmly within my brain. I can remember where I was and what I was doing when it happened for each of my novels - the local church for 'Temptation,' in front of a PC screen taking a virtual tour of a street I used to frequent for 'Star Keeper' and ascending the slippery cobbled streets of Halifax, Yorkshire for 'Crushed' which will be published later this year.

As that initial idea takes shape and is added to, it is easy to allow it to run away or become stifled by too busy a plot or too many characters. If I reach the point where I need it all to make sense again then I have one favourite place to sit and ponder it.

Where I find perspective
Exposed but yet private, I sit above everyday concerns and can watch cars speed through the streets of the town below, look up and see birds form arrows beneath the clouds and all suburban noises are distant and muffled by the sound of rustling leaves around me. Everything slots into place and so do my thoughts.