Lightbulb Moments on Dark Themes
So where do the ideas come from?
It is a question I often get asked - as does every other writer. But for the writer of horror/supernatural stories the questioners are even more fascinated by how or why the ideas strike. The answer, of course is they come out of my imagination but they may have been sparked by something I have seen, heard or experienced. Or sometimes tiny nubs just appear from apparently nowhere… But I don’t believe they are apropos of nothing, they have just oozed up from my subconscious.
Perhaps I can give an example of how it worked for me with one project.
The original idea for my latest book “The Afterlife of Darkmares” came to me from apparently nothing?? I had been tossing around some occult-type ideas that might seem fairly believable when the thing suddenly presented itself. It was simply an image and I can still clearly remember the ‘eureka’ feeling it gave me. The picture in my mind was of a 12 year old boy standing rigidly in a graveyard, hands by his sides, his glossy black hair - pageboy style - gleaming in the sunlight. His clothes were old fashioned – as if he’d stepped out of the pages of some 60’s magazine. He wore a buttoned up paisley shirt, a hand-knitted waistcoat and smart black trousers. There was something very off centre about him…
Where that image came from, I have no idea, but it must have arisen from something in my subconscious mind.. The scene was so vivid I used it as a jumping off point for my story. At that point I had no idea what my story would be about but I knew I had to use that scene somehow. The boy is called Grif and he is central to the story and the entire plot of the supernatural thriller “The Afterlife of Darkmares.”.
I then used free writing to further explore and develop the idea. As I did this and the plot began to identify itself I became more and more excited and enthused by my slowly ripening story. For me this is the best part of writing a book. The creating of the story!!.
So what is your favourite part of writing a story? Do you dream up ideas or characters first?