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View Full Version : Did you have a "chemical reaction" to your inspiration for your WIP?



frankiebrown
09-23-2012, 05:49 AM
JK Rowling says in an interview with The Guardian that when she got the inspiration for her newest novel, "I had that totally physical response you get to an idea that you know will work. It's a rush of adrenaline, it's chemical. I had it with Harry Potter and I had it with this. So that's how I know."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/22/jk-rowling-book-casual-vacancy?newsfeed=true

I can say with honesty that I had a more mild version of this with my current WIP. I knew it was a good idea, it was something that would succeed in the YA market, and I would enjoy writing it. It was a hunch.

Did you experience anything similar to this with your WIP? Or is your WIP just a story that you want to tell, and damn the publishers? Or is it something else?

Chasing the Horizon
09-23-2012, 05:59 AM
My best ideas form slowly, often over a period of months or even years while I work on other things.

I left the chemical reactions behind when I stopped doing drugs, lol.

blacbird
09-23-2012, 06:09 AM
There are various substances, in liquid or solid form, that will do the trick. Doesn't Professor Snape have an entire cabinet full of such stuff?

caw

Saoirse
09-23-2012, 06:10 AM
YES. This happened to me when I got the idea for Fey Touched. It was amazing. And the book basically wrote itself, the fastest I ever wrote anything, in 4 months.

frankiebrown
09-23-2012, 06:20 AM
There are various substances, in liquid or solid form, that will do the trick. Doesn't Professor Snape have an entire cabinet full of such stuff?

caw

If I could take polyjuice potion to put myself in my character's shoes, I would do it in an instant. Snape be damned.

Siri Kirpal
09-23-2012, 07:48 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I feel a surge of joy when I get book idea that's right (Old English Capitals) Chemical or not, who knows?

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Filigree
09-23-2012, 08:09 AM
One of my other online writing groups calls these the 'white fire moments', when everything clicks and the writing is almost a race between fingers and brain. You're in deep focus, totally intent on the work, and eight hours can go by in a blink. It seems rare to folks who haven't experienced it, but it can become a trained reaction.

It is a very physical sensation. I'd describe it as an adrenaline rush mixed with extremely powerful endorphin reactions. The first time it happened to me I was a much younger writer, and made the mistake of bolting from the computer. I spent the day in a giddy haze, fantasizing about World Fantasy Awards and other nonsense. It faded, and I couldn't figure out why my writing seemed flat and dull later, more work than play.

The next time, I decided to associate the reward with the work, not my idealized version of it. I needed to *play* again. So I kept writing, using the euphoria as positive reinforcement. Oddly enough, by remembering the sensation I'm usually able to trigger it again to help break me out of writing funks. Not always, because nothing is 100% effective, but it helps.

I wrote most of my debut novel in two months, buoyed by my sheer joy of seeing 'what happened next'.

GiantRampagingPencil
09-23-2012, 08:26 AM
One of my other online writing groups calls these the 'white fire moments', when everything clicks and the writing is almost a race between fingers and brain. You're in deep focus, totally intent on the work, and eight hours can go by in a blink. It seems rare to folks who haven't experienced it, but it can become a trained reaction.

It is a very physical sensation. I'd describe it as an adrenaline rush mixed with extremely powerful endorphin reactions. The first time it happened to me I was a much younger writer, and made the mistake of bolting from the computer. I spent the day in a giddy haze, fantasizing about World Fantasy Awards and other nonsense. It faded, and I couldn't figure out why my writing seemed flat and dull later, more work than play.




All of the above. I get a little manic, and silly which makes it hard to focus and sit. I never thought you could train this reaction. A useful tidbit I shall hide away.

frankiebrown
09-23-2012, 08:28 AM
One of my other online writing groups calls these the 'white fire moments', when everything clicks and the writing is almost a race between fingers and brain.

Oh, "white fire", I love that. When your muse is sitting on the desk next to you.

CrystalCierlak
09-23-2012, 08:33 AM
I think so. Something like it, definitely. I was really excited about the plot and theme and it just continued to excite me. I wrote what I would want to read so for me that made the difference.

M.Macabre
09-23-2012, 08:51 AM
If we want to get into it, technically you have a ''chemical reaction'' to everything...

kkbe
09-23-2012, 09:55 AM
I woke up one morning knowing a novel and wrote it, start to finish, in three weeks. Is mania a chemical reaction?:e2writer::e2sling:

Niniva
09-23-2012, 09:56 AM
Wow. I get a major head rush and smell something akin to ammonia - more the almost electric feel when you smell ammonia.

*wonders if there are drug fairies tinkering in her kitchen*

katci13
09-23-2012, 10:06 AM
Is mania a chemical reaction?

Erm, yeah, I get manic, too. And yes, it is chemical. ^_^ But usually, the more excited (i.e. manic) I am about something, the more epic the fail. So I'm pretty excited right now that I'm not jumping through the roof with manic-like adrenaline for my new story. I must finally be onto something. I feel calm. And happy. And patient.

gothicangel
09-23-2012, 12:26 PM
I don't think I could commit to an idea that didn't fire me up in someway. It's what keeps you going when writing is like truding through porridge.

I like that term 'white fire' too. :)

Anna Spargo-Ryan
09-23-2012, 01:00 PM
With the novel I wrote last year, I felt nothing. The plot was very deliberately constructed, the characters were forced into their bodies and the setting was basically just the prettiest one I could find. And it was total crap.

With my current WIP, I felt the kind of adrenalin rush of which Rowling speaks. I had no time to write, so I was letting the idea bang around in my head in the meantime, and the "right" story came to me in a flash while I was driving. I still have no time to write, but I'm confident in my idea and loving outlining it.

Filigree
09-23-2012, 01:33 PM
You have to feel the rush. But you can sometimes coax yourself into it, even if just as an enjoyable challenge.

In my other life as a commercial artist, I'm often asked to create pieces of art that don't do *anything* for me. I remind myself that a client loved this enough to commission it, so for the duration of the project I find ways to accept it on its own merits and do the best job I can.

Writing is a lot more personal, though. I have at least 8 trunked projects that just didn't spark with me. Maybe that will change at some point, and I can charge gleefully into them.

Goldenleaves
09-23-2012, 01:56 PM
So it's not acid flashback?

Anna Spargo-Ryan
09-23-2012, 02:34 PM
So it's not acid flashback?

Well now, I don't think anyone is saying that ;)

Persei
09-23-2012, 02:48 PM
I felt that (a lot) but I usually don't write during it. I build the story in my head and let it sit there for a while before putting the fingers on the keyboard, because I know my objectivity towards the story goes out of the window during the "white fire" and I need my head on place to think it through.

In fact, the ideas I have during the fire are usually completely twisted until barely recognizable later. But I always come up with nice stories and plot lines (or so I think :D). I don't think feeling the fire is important whether a story is good or not. For me, the story is good when is worth sticking to it when things are hard or not going smoothly enough.

leahzero
09-23-2012, 04:40 PM
In my other life as a commercial artist, I'm often asked to create pieces of art that don't do *anything* for me. I remind myself that a client loved this enough to commission it, so for the duration of the project I find ways to accept it on its own merits and do the best job I can.

This.

It really puts things in perspective. I've had to train my creativity to push buttons like a monkey. It's a very different feeling when the monkey tears off its little monkey shirt and transforms into an 800-pound gorilla and starts pounding the keys.

shadowwalker
09-23-2012, 06:12 PM
I find that when I really find a good idea, I get that rush of adrenalin. It ebbs and flows as I'm writing, which is only natural. But even if I think I have a good idea, if that rush doesn't come at some point before starting the writing, it's probably going to be a waste of time.

bearilou
09-23-2012, 06:47 PM
I like it when it happens (white fire moment works for me!) but I don't depend on it striking to get any writing done.

I do like the rush when it hits, though. :D

Jamesaritchie
09-23-2012, 09:05 PM
Ideas never work, and there really are no good or bad ideas. If the idea mattered, there would be a thriving, lucrative market for selling ideas. Being a writer who can take any idea and turn it into a well-written novel with great characters is what works.

shadowwalker
09-23-2012, 09:27 PM
Ideas never work, and there really are no good or bad ideas. If the idea mattered, there would be a thriving, lucrative market for selling ideas. Being a writer who can take any idea and turn it into a well-written novel with great characters is what works.

I'm not sure if I agree with that or not. I think a writer can take an idea they don't like, have no real interest in, or perhaps even hate, and write an adequate novel - but unless it's an idea they really want to develop, that causes that excitement, at least initially, they aren't going to put their all into it. And so you can end up with a 'well-written' novel, but not necessarily a 'great' or even 'good' novel. Kinda like writing assigned stories for a creative writing class - you can do the assignments well enough; they just bore you to tears and end up adequate, but not outstanding.

But I'll have to think about your statement for a while... :)

Dreity
09-23-2012, 09:46 PM
The few times I've had that beginning inspiration it did a fine job determining the initial premise, but it was remarkably unhelpful when I went to type the actual words. Now, once that idea starts developing into something solid, then I get excited, and the rush of adrenalin I get after I've completed that something just can't be beat.

Starting things suck, finishing things is awesome. I'd do more of the latter if it was easier to keep trucking through the former.

RLTDavis
09-23-2012, 11:55 PM
Ideas never work, and there really are no good or bad ideas. If the idea mattered, there would be a thriving, lucrative market for selling ideas. Being a writer who can take any idea and turn it into a well-written novel with great characters is what works.
I think it was Brandon Sanderson in a lecture on writing that said something along the lines of "Ideas are cheap." I've seen this kind of advice over and over again from various bestselling authors, I think that the reality is that ideas aren't worthless, but maybe they are cheap. I good idea is great, but it is only a spark, and you need a whole bonfire to make a book. Many wanna-be-authors don't want to do the work required to build up that fire, or they don't have the skills to.

I've had lots of ideas over the years, many of them struck me as absolute brilliance at the time and then the flame kinda fizzled when I discovered that it wasn't strong enough to build a fire with. I remember exactly where I was when I got the idea for my current ms- my husband and I had just left a late-night movie and were walking around the empty promenade when I hopped up on a on the ledge of a fountain, pretending to fall in just to make him laugh, and I froze. It was like electricity had struck me. I was quiet the entire way home because my brain was running with the idea, and then I stayed up most of the night furiously tapping away at the keyboard. The first draft was completed maybe 3 months later. That was 5 years ago (currently on my 4th draft, which only slightly resembles that first draft). But I still think about the moment that the idea struck me.

Samsonet
09-24-2012, 02:19 AM
^ Alright, I'm really curious: what was the idea?








On topic, when I was a kid I got those reactions all the time. Then I went right to the computer to write them, and the ideas fizzled... I still get excited over my current work-in-progress, but I learned the hard way not to trust my easily-pleased instincts in regards to my writing.

victoriastrauss
09-25-2012, 05:16 AM
On topic, when I was a kid I got those reactions all the time. Then I went right to the computer to write them, and the ideas fizzled... I still get excited over my current work-in-progress, but I learned the hard way not to trust my easily-pleased instincts in regards to my writing.

Same here. I get ideas all the time, and most give me that little electric jolt--and most, when I think about them, wind up fizzling. Ideas are like words--you have to come up with a lot of them, and throw a lot of them out, to find the ones that work.

- Victoria

NeuroFizz
09-25-2012, 06:37 AM
Ideas stir my curiosity, but I get the really noticeable euphoria when I get stuck in a project and think my way through to a really cool way to get around it (which always strengthens the story). Accomplishments are my fuel. Ideas without accomplishment are foolsgold.

AlienGirl
09-26-2012, 10:37 PM
Not the idea first, but when the characters and the story come together and I just know I have to write it ... It's the sensation that keeps me going. The same reward comes into play when I reread it and like it.

Can't imagine writing without that feeling.

Chrissy
09-27-2012, 12:49 AM
I can say without question that writing my first book (with my first *great* idea) felt exactly like a chemical reaction--and not only that, it was like being addicted to a chemical substance (which I've also experienced) probably most similiar to one of the cocaine variety: crazy amounts of limitless energy, not being able to sleep (lying in bed knowing I need to get sleep, but with brain on overdrive), not wanting to eat, being obsessed with the story, writing the story, researching the details, editing the writing, etc.

And then, the revision phase: this is the hangover.

:D

Cannelle
09-30-2012, 08:26 PM
I did with my first (rejected and trunked, with good reason!). My second, which I'm getting ready to query, when I first got the idea, my first reaction was, "I don't want to write that," with an undercurrent of, "Ew." It's now 88K and I had a blast writing it, lol.