|Professor Brian Cox painted|
the wonders of the solar system on BBC 2.
How do you start a new project?
For me, the initial spark is visual. The image of a place, in time or space, spins for a moment. I blame documentaries. Who makes a documentary unless they have identified a setting with extraordinary natural beauty or great peril? The obstacle is explained in great detail. No wonder so many of my ideas started off on the Geographic Channel or the many channels of the BBC.
Once the idea has germinated, I look for ways to heighten the tension and make my MC face ever greater challenges. If there is a worst case scenario, that is a good place to start making the situation worse. ;)
At this point I consider possible themes:
- coming of age
At some point between the start of the programme and the end of the debate about themes there are already images of the individuals who inhabit the setting, and snatches of conversations between them, echoing in my head. I play detective: I don’t think who should be living here? I piece together the characters who are already there. As part of my how-can-I-make-things-more-complicated-for-my-MC process, one of the things I do is wonder who seems to be least well-suited to the setting and consider putting them there too.
Where do you find the inspiration for your novel?