When the writing’s resisting me I do my best to remember that.
You may hate prompts from others, many do, but I’d be curious how you feel about prompting yourself. Walking around and looking and wondering what story that and that can tell.
To paraphrase Sherlock, once you plant an idea, it’s awfully hard to remove. Maybe we need to let more ideas plant themselves, especially the ones we think we can't use.
Sure, there are some things I’ll probably never write. A Moriarty-centric romance. Something without redemption. Not going there.
But sometimes it’s been delightful to go where I thought I wouldn’t. My favorite example is being prompted by Dragonsally for "Well Met," my series of other ways Sherlock and John could have met. She said something about John and Sherlock getting their privates vajazzled.
The hell is vajazzling? asked my brain.
Google research, replied my fingers.
OH HELL THE FUCK NO. Also my brain, after.
Something about the idea was ridiculous and so outside what I’d normally write that, once Dragonsally planted the idea, it wouldn’t go away. I pushed it away. It stayed. I shoved. It scowled and sat down hard. I ended up writing Vajazzle and I still love that story because it's as absurd as the boys.
The point I’m making is yesterday I was walking about New York City near the Garment District and there was a giant damned button and needle and my first thought was, “There’s a story in that," and I wanted to share that here. Because instead of “oh hell the fuck no”-ing things any more, I like the idea that that giant damned button and needle are now—*Sherlock’s finger to Lestrade’s forehead*—planted. In me. And maybe something will grow. It will if I want it to.
Maybe it's now planted in your head too?
If you write something based on the photo or what you learn about it or anything that sprang from either of those things, please let us know. We’ll link to it from here! And in the meantime, share your idea in a comment below…see what you can plant, and with whom.
P.S. A Murmuring of Bees is now out as ebook; paperback 5 December!