I’ve three old, screwed-up paper serviettes in my bag. I can’t throw them out, because I’ve written on them, and because I come home from work and dump my bag and don’t look into it until the next day. As a result these little notes remain until I remember them. After which they stay on my desk for a few weeks until I finally get around to putting them onto the computer.
They’re my story ideas.
They’re the ideas that I have while I’m out, where I snatch the nearest thing to hand and scribble down the fragment that comes to mind.
The thing is, I often have these ideas while I’m out, at breakfast, reading the newspaper.
I get most of my news online now. I read the news online, have a number of news sites that I visit, but that only gives you the news you choose to read. Printed newspapers are, and always have been, a major source of ideas for me. For both of us.
That and printed magazines. I used to regularly buy the New Scientist and Scientific American magazines, just for the ideas. Now I look at that online too.
Nowadays, the only time I look at newspapers is when I’m out. Cafes, at breakfast time, are the main places I read on paper now.
There’s something about reading a printed news source. Your eye catches an article—something you wouldn’t even think to read normally. Eye-brain triggers something. An idea pops into your head.
Quick, where’s the notepad? Haven’t got it? Anything will do. What about a spare paper napkin?
Which is how I come to have so many scribbled notes in my bag, waiting to be transferred to the computer.
Of course, my handwriting is so bad, by the time I come to transfer them, there are always a couple of words I have to guess, because I have no idea what I wrote. But sometimes that simply adds to the idea.