When ideas come

Novel ideas are strange creatures. Sometimes they crawl out from under a chair or out of the closet, sneaking up on you. Sometimes they pounce when you least expect and the most unprepared.

The slow ones can give you time to think. First, it’s a character or plot point. Sometimes it’s a trait. Whispering, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” You mull them over. Twist them and play with them and coax their friends from the shadows. Building the story in your mind while you make note of and enjoy the discovery.

The fast ones hit like a bolt of electricity. Just WHAM. While you’re driving or in the shower. The idea, the characters, from beginning to end. SMACK in the face and no way to write them down. Unless you have a child with those tub crayons, then you can make notes on the shower wall. But if you don’t. They back away, slipping out of your mind like sand through your fingers. Until, if you’re lucky, you’re left with a half remembered idea when you finally get to a stop light. Of course, you know when you get an idea like that you only hit green lights.

It’s not just novel ideas that are like that. Solutions to all problems or questions can come that way.

When do your ideas come to you?