People love to know where we writers get our ideas.

They seem to think that ideas are elusive, and that we find them in secret places where others never think to look.

The truth is that ideas spring at us from all directions.

Like hungry cats, they clamour for our attention, rubbing up against our legs, jumping onto our laps, and whingeing till they get what they want.

Some inevitably drift off, bored with our lack of response.

Others are more persistent, digging in their claws and refusing to let go till we give in to their demands.

Henry Hoey Hobson was a clawer. He arrived unannounced, when I was busy working on a crime novel, and waiting for my novel Dust to come out.

A likeable kid that nobody liked. How was that even possible?

I felt for him, even pulled out a pen and jotted down his details, then shooed him away so that I could concentrate on my work-in-progress.

But he was a persistent little begger, sneaking into my thoughts, and into my dreams, until finally I got out of bed and started writing his story.

Now there’s another one clawing at me.

I’ve been pushing Intruder away with my foot, while I got through the month of Book Week, the school visits, the festivals and conferences.

It’s shredded my pants up to the knee, and if I don’t get to it soon, there will be blood.

This morning I shoved it, hissing and spitting, into a hold-all, to take it up the coast for two weeks.

There’s no internet. No telephone. No mail deliveries. And they’re predicting rain.

Wish me luck. It’s time to feed the beast.

  1. Joanna Gaudry says:

    How exciting, Chris! Intruder Alert and a new project!
    I’ve got an idea plugging away inside my head. Actually, it’s based on a children’s story I wrote and illustrated 17 years ago (unpublished). I’m thinking about rewriting it as a fantasy novel. I want it to appeal to all age groups–young adult and adults. Do you set out to write for ‘everybody’ or for specific age groups, Chris with your novels (ie teenagers, young adults)?
    Anyway, I know what you mean about ‘clawing away’. This idea has been mulling away for a while. I’m moving in a couple of weeks so won’t sit down to write it until then. At least I’ve got a fresh idea. Have also written a picture book m/s since I dumped my first novel, ‘Dirt’. It wasn’t working, but I learnt a lot through writing and redrafting it.
    After that I dumped my blog about creative writing because it was a downer. Concentrating on the writing now.
    I love rainy days.
    Brisbane is lovely. I’ll have to meet you in person one day, Chris!
    Bye for now,
    Joanna :))

  2. chrisbongers says:

    Joanna, I don’t write fantasy, but I love reading it, and it occurs to me that it is possible for both young adults and adults to enjoy the same books in this genre. That said, I think it’s hard to write for “everybody”.
    I layer meaning in my books for young people so that older readers can enjoy them at a deeper level, but the choice of language, theme, character, setting etc in many ways determines the readership.
    Good luck with your writing and I have no doubt that we will meet in person one day. Brisbane is still a very small town. 🙂

  3. Joanna Gaudry says:

    Thanks for that, Chris. Joanna :))

  4. nearly every morning I wake with a new idea for a story. I am so overloaded with ideas, that I have outlined and began writing over thirty novels. it can be incredibly frustrating to know which of these ideas I should actually spend most of my time on!

  5. chrisbongers says:

    Give your characters time to stew in the cauldron of your subconscious. If you get bored with them too easily, so will your readers. Characters need depth and complexity to sustain a novel length work. Other ideas might work better in short stories which are often epiphany based. Good luck and keep writing. 🙂

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