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Sorry, I can’t write. My genius is having a coffee break… April 19, 2010

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in genius, inspiration, writing.
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>Rehashing something older. Last August I had the opportunity to host an author chat over at the Circlet Press Livejournal community. This was one of the talks I gave. The idea of having a genius and not being a genius is, as I say below, one that resonated very strongly with me. And it describes how I write almost to a tee. (The steampunk on the high seas book that I talk about in there is The Sea Prince, and one of these days, the Genius will give me the REST of the outline….)

And no, I’ve never said that my genius was out for a coffee break. At least, not until today.

******

Let’s talk about creativity this morning.

I like TED talks. I download them to my Ipod and listen to them at the gym, or in the car when I’m driving alone (rarely).  I find the site addictive, and most of the talks interesting.

This one talk sparked some interesting idea. The speaker is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. Go ahead and listen, I’ll wait… (there’s a transcript available here if you can’t watch it at work)

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

What caught me was the idea of Genius being something external. As someone who gets most of her ideas when they walk up and BITE her, this resonated with me. This really does seem to describe the way I think, I like the idea of having a Genius (or a Daemon, if you want the Greek – and yes, this concept is where Phillip Pullman got the idea for the daemons in his Dark Materials series.)

The more I thought about it, the more my personal genius turned into that little guy in my icon. He’s a prickly fellow, cantankerous to an extreme, but when he’s on, he’s ON! He’s the one who kept me awake all night, yelling at me until I changed the ending to To Market, my erotic retelling of Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market, which will appear in the upcoming Like a Prince.  As an apology, he also trotted out the main character for that steampunk-on-the-high-seas book (which went from interesting character with no name at roughly 6AM to full blown novel idea in under 12 hours. He kept THROWING things at me – here’s a nation, here’s their government, here’s their history, here’s the love interest, here’s the conflict, here’s…. hey, why aren’t you writing this down!)

So what do you think? Where does inspiration lie? Where do YOUR ideas come from?

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