Meg Rosoff observed that writing is 80% day dreaming and 20% writing and I quite agree with that. But I would also add into the mix my speciality - saying it out loud, preferably to someone listening. I really find that actually saying the thoughts tumbling through my mind helps both inspiration and organisation. Even if the audience is the poor old better half who is trying to have a quiet coffee up the road in our local Cafe Nero.
But the better half, listening with only half an ear, allowing me to whitter on to my heart's content ( even as he yells, GOAL!) also works for me.
I also need to do my 'thinking aloud' when asked to give a talk. The thing about giving talks - well I find this anyhow- is that each one is slightly different, according to the audience, time factor and many other variables. I don't really have set talks, its more like themes which I can return to.
This month I have been invited onto a panel for the LSE Literary Festival, together with Philip Womack. We have to talk for 15 minutes on Re-writing the past vs Re-imagining the future.
The Emergency Zoo, (Alma Books, May 2016) asks the question, When war breaks out, who will save the animals? My characters are children aged between seven and fifteen, with the main cluster being four twelve year olds - 2 girls and 2 boys. Imagining their lives, clothes, setting, food, interests, worries and concerns was a mixture of research - my main character Tilly wades through streams and climbs trees all in a dress, usually tucked into her knickers - and quite simply thinking back to when I was twelve and how I viewed the world.
My imagination likes to soar when I am alone and fuelled up with coffee but it also likes time to bounce ideas off someone else and I think it is the very action of saying my words aloud which helps me to focus and develop my stories.