Idea Sparks

Picture of a patchy-grass field and a slightly wavering line of orange sports cones. A coach is in the far distance, watching a game we can't see.

cones By woodleywonderworks CC 3.0

Those ah-ha moments come from the strangest things.

I had two back-to-back writer’s groups recently. The meetings were so close that I didn’t have time to incorporate comments from the first group before handing the second group the exact same scene.

It felt a little like cheating, especially since one group is a spin-off group and so some people were reading the exact same thing twice.

Turns out it was a good thing. Adding different people to the mix brought about different discussions AND I can compare their comments…did they say the same thing or did they contradict themselves.

But perhaps more importantly, hearing the same piece read twice sparked something.

I’ve been having trouble with a subplot…nothing seemed to work. Everything that I thought of either got in the way or got swallowed by the main plot. Nothing was a natural fit.

On the train to work, on one of the days between the two groups, I happened to sit next to a guy who was carrying sports cones in addition to his laptop bag. You know those tiny plastic orange cones that coaches use to set up a field or practice route. They look like traffic cones in miniature. Anyway, he had them tucked by his feet, but when I saw them I reminisced about my days playing soccer and wondered what sport he coached. In the end, I settled on basketball but decided not to ask. That way I couldn’t be wrong…or the weird seatmate asking too many questions. And I went on with my day, not giving him or his cones another thought.

Fast forward to the next writer’s group. I was listening to a group member read the same scene I’d just heard when BAM, I had it. Coaching.

I doubt I would have had the subplot snap into place if I hadn’t sat next to the coach on the train…but I also wouldn’t have made the connection if sitting next to him hadn’t been so close to my writer’s group. Serendipity.

What’s your oddest ah-ha moment?

3 thoughts on “Idea Sparks

  1. I’m often ispired just by daily life, people, mostly wondering what they’re thinking. I find it really neat when connections like the one you had happen 🙂
    Good writing, hope it goes smooth!

    • Thanks. Nothing goes as smoothly as I like…but I’m headed in the right direction.

      I love people watching for the very reason you mentioned. So many random strangers have sparked ideas and plots…and they have no idea!

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