The most-asked question for writers is usually “Where do your ideas come from?”
The gif is the honest answer many writers give, though others have despaired of being asked so often. John Cleese once said:
“People often say, Where do you get your ideas from? And I say I get them from a Mr. Ken Levingshore who lives in Swinden, he sends them to me every Monday morning on a postcard. I once asked Ken where he gets his ideas from, and he gets them from a lady called Mildred Spong who lives on the Isle of Wight. He once asked Mildred where she gets her ideas from and she refused to say. So the point is, we don’t know. This is terribly important. We don’t know where we get our ideas from. What we do know is we do not get them from our laptops.”
I wish people would ask me where I get my ideas from, but the truth is, people rarely ask me about my writing at all. Which is fair, because I spend most of the day working in a library, so it would be awfully self-indulgent to talk about my plays or e-books.
When I am asked, it’s always the nebulous question “What do you write?”, and despite almost twenty years of writing experience, I still don’t have a short answer to it. The plays I write range from short comic sketches to philosophical debates and conflicts I would personally avoid. Most have humour in them, but not all. And when it comes to the e-books, I’m no better at settling on a genre, or even fiction or non-fiction.
From a writing point of view, I have no issue with this. It’s fun, writing what occurs without trying to bend it into a different shape so it fits the pigeonhole I’m in. On the other hand, when it comes to marketing, it can make life very difficult. Well, sales, it makes sales very difficult.
This deep thought about the origin of inspiration was prompted by the publication of my latest play, a full-length that is nothing like any of my previous pieces. The two main characters are young women, it’s set in the 80’s in America, and it’s a police procedural. The ending is also atypical of the things I write. You can read the whole script online here.
If you do, please let me know what you think. And, perhaps, where you think I got the idea from….