Dinosaur Digger or Treasure Hunter….
I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center—Kurt Vonnegut
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it—Neil Gaiman
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him—J.R.R. Tolkien
Writing fiction is a bit like digging for buried treasure, only the map you’re using doesn’t have any identifiable landmarks or place names. The ‘X’ is plainly visible, but the mountain that it’s sitting next to could very well be an anthill on Mars.
You search for clues and pieces of things that hopefully lead you in the right direction. You pray to the writing gods that the compass you’re using hasn’t been tampered with by gremlins…or pirates. And, sometimes, just sometimes, you stumble on an Aladdin’s cave.
Do you stumble through the booby-traps in search of the magic lamp?
Or, do you stuff your pockets with the first handful of baubles you find and make your escape?
Perhaps, you’re like me, and suffer from the writer’s version of ADD… ADOS— Attention Deficit Ooo Shiny…. so many pretty plots to play with and you want to take them all home…. sigh.
Stephen King likened the writing process to digging up fossils. You start with a bit of bone poking through the ground. Slowly and very carefully, you begin chipping away everything that isn’t bone. Let the clumps of dirt and clay fall around you, they aren’t needed.
There’s a great mystery when you start knocking away the detritus. When there’s just a piece of the bone visible, you have no idea what that bone is. And, you have no idea what– or, perhaps who– that bone belonged to. You can’t know the answers to any of your questions until you have completely excavated the bone.
Did you find the femur of some exiled king?
Or, maybe the scapula of some lost species that has yet to be named?
Once you have your bone uncovered, you have the start of your story… as you find the rest of the skeleton, the pieces fall into place. But, you can’t hope to find anything until you start digging.
So, what do you fancy yourself? Bone hunter? Or, pirate?