I call myself a light bulb writer, which means my brain lights up at the tiniest flick of a switch. This happens a lot, and if I don’t get my thoughts down straight away, I lose them. Which also means that I can have half a dozen or more unfinished manuscripts around the place at any one time. I’m bursting with ideas; so many that I’ll probably never find the time to write all those books. People ask me where the ideas come from. The truth is, half the time, the trigger was so small and insignificant that I can barely recall it. Like Sky Song; I have no idea what sparked the original idea for that, only the thought processes that came afterwards. The Memory Game came from a short story, the idea for which came from a photograph of a bike. I started a novel a few weeks ago set off by a random remark on Twitter. It can be song lyrics, paintings, snippets of conversation, or a just a book title I’ve thought of. Runners was a dream I had. I woke in the middle of the night, grabbed my notebook, and six fully-formed characters just came out of my head. I have notebooks crammed with opening lines, vague premises, plots and character sketches.
Don’t panic, though. I won’t be bombarding you with novels. In fact, for all these ideas, I doubt I’m any more productive than my writing colleagues. Because, as fast as I start a novel, I put it aside to make way for a new idea. That’s the curse of the light bulb. The rarest piece makes it to completion, so maybe that says something about the actual quality of most of my ideas! One day with discipline, I may become a steady, reliable gas lantern, slowly cooking away, one idea at a time. But don’t hold your breath.