A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Where do you get your ideas from?

The thing about having an absolutely awesome book launch party is that it’s really difficult to get back to normal speed the week after. LINKED released last week, and the whole weekend was taken up with getting ready for the party, with entertaining the guests arriving to stay over the weekend of the party, and with having the party.  I slept most of Monday, and I still feel like I’m recovering!

Which is my rather long-winded way of explaining why I forgot about blogging today until Emma Pass reminded me.  You should all go buy her book, ACID, to reward her.

So, where do I get my ideas from (given that I can’t always rely on Emma to sort my life out for me)?

It might seem a little odd for a science fiction/ fantasy writer to say she gets her ideas from real life, but that is where they mostly come from.  The nice thing about being that science fiction/ fantasy writer, though, is that the original ideas end up going through a weird fantasy filter that turns them into something much more interesting.

When I was little, I used to like hanging from a climbing frame in the local park, looking up at the sky and imagining that I was looking down at it.  Super scary, as it happens, because if you let go of the climbing frame you’d fall forever even before you disappeared into the clouds…and who knew what would happen after that?

For me, forming ideas for books is like that.  Looking at something the wrong way, or imagining it’s something else entirely, and then letting yourself feel the terror (or, well, if not the terror, the mild interest).

Just during the writing of LINKED, the landscape in between my village and the nearest city became a spaceport plateau, and a bedroom in an airport hotel morphed (and shrank) into a room in a “pod-motel”–and then a room on board a spaceship.  An idea I’ve always had, about a car shaped like a ladybird, ended up turning into one of the main means of transport on my heroine’s home planet.

And, actually, now I’m thinking about it, I can see where those hours of hanging off climbing frames and staring into the sky incorporated themselves into the book as well.

Hm. Now to work out a way of using my current wealth of experience of coffee shops to form something excitingly science-fiction-like.  Challenge. Accepted.

About Imogen Howson

magical fiction for young adults and adults

2 comments on “Where do you get your ideas from?

  1. Mack
    June 19, 2013

    It;s only logical to find science fiction ideas in today’s reality 🙂 Science fiction is mapping out possible scenarios of development of our species, exploring means & methods as well as diversions, traps and conditions. Reality as it is today is not a static phenomenon, it is a brief moment of time, a still – so to speak – of patterns already in development.

    Great science fiction writing manages to discern those patterns, extrapolates them and allows us to explore before we decide on next steps. Consciously subconsciously, actively and passively.

  2. emmapass
    June 19, 2013

    LOL, Immi, you’re welcome! 😉 And thank you for the shout-out. Lovely post – I used to imagine that with the sky too, only in the reflections in puddles. It used to scare me too!

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