Toothache and Inspiration, or, Where My Ideas Come From, Part II

Yesterday, I delved a little into the process by which new ideas arrive. I described my latest idea as WATERSHIP DOWN meets POST OFFICE meets…something else. Well, after waking up with toothache (not for the first time) this morning at 5am, I lay in bed and watched the story slowly unfold in my mind. It wasn’t quite like a movie as you see it in the theatre, more like the disjointed footage seen only by a film’s editor, but I began to form an impression of where the story wanted to go. The “something else” or missing ingredient, I discovered, was “post apocalyptic story.” In high concept terms, that’s THE STAND or such like. Once I had this aspect of the tale, the plot began to spool through my mind until I had no chance of ever getting back to sleep. So, I staggered downstairs and fired up the laptop. Fifteen hundred words later, I have the blueprint for my next story, THE SOUND OF CONSTANT THUNDER.

It is the kind of story idea that excites me, the kind that arrives as a gift. It is almost as if it wants to be written. It’s preternatural, but at the same time completely natural. It’s a beautiful thing.

All there is for me to do now is write the words, put them in the correct order, and pray I don’t f#ck it up.


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