Inspiration, revision truths, and silliness

This is a revision weekend. I’m actually excited about it, though I am feeling a little confused about a scene that I know should be in the book, but since I changed some things, I cannot figure out where to put it. Paging the Muse, paging the Muse, clean up in aisle three…

I had a reader question come into my Facebook. Kendall wrote: “… where (in general) do you get your inspiration and ideas for different books?”

I probably come across at least one idea that could become a novel every day. Generally, it’s a person trapped in an interesting situation, or facing a conflict that forces him/her to change and grow. This idea will pop into my head out of nowhere, or I stumble across them because of something I’m reading, some fragment of dialog I overhear, a scene I witness at an airport or the grocery store. I start to ponder: “what if….”

But not all ideas about books are robust enough to become books. Along with the initial conflict, I have to dream up a character with a rich interior life, well-defined background, and memorable secondary characters. And then I throw in setting. And then I throw in subtext; exterior image systems that reflect the character’s inner journey. And then I revise eight or eleven times and I have a breakdown or two and I pull out all my hair and I have a book.

Do you dream of writing a novel and having it published and living the life of an author? Read “My Book Deal Ruined My Life” and tell me what you think.

Nobel Prize winner (literature) Doris Lessing has a MySpace.

What if the Nobel in Literature were awarded in an alternate universe?