Writing process

Paper newspapers and magazines help generate stories

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.

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