The Eye of the SF Inspiration Storm – Rosie Oliver

The eye of a storm produces calm for a brief few moments from the battering of the cyclone, hurricane, tornado, whatever form of storm happens to be passing by. It’s no different for those writers who just come up with one idea or inspiration after another. There is always that brief interlude of calm before the writer hurtles words onto their blank page.

So what do I mean by all this? Let me give you an example.

Last year I completed a short story, which was for the plot line too short. I had cut it off in its prime and I knew it. So sensibly I put it to one side, letting it wither in the ‘retired stories’ heap. Only it kept calling to me. It had that spark at the start that pointed to something better, much better. Still I ignored it until a few weeks ago, when I sat down to extend it.

First scene, minor edits, tick. Second scene, heavy editing, but plot stays the same. Third scene, completely written from scratch. The typing had taken on a life of its own, taking the story in a direction I had not anticipated. I suddenly found my protagonists had deeper motivations that were overtaking the ones I had written in the original version. The story was becoming richer and far more human. Worse, I was even improving the details. For example – I had the doctor wearing glasses for psychological reasons, but decided that glasses were also acting as life sign monitors of the patients he was talking to, which added a richness to the world building. But the writing for now has ground to a halt while I try to work out where the heck the story is heading. Its main plot line is no longer the same. Then original version’s main plot line has turned into a subplot! I know that while I sit back, this is the calm of the eye of  the storm.

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