I was just looking through the plans and plot for tomorrow's Murder Mystery Night in Plymouth, and it started me musing on the subject of ideas and where they come from.
The title of this blog is the way I often think of the arrival of a new idea - as though you're looking into a great dark sky, searching for something, and suddenly comes this spray of light. It's an instant transformation, from incomprehension to understanding, and can even leave me breathless.
In the tvdetective books, Dan too sometimes marvels at that wonderful moment when he sees the solution to a case. He calls it an epiphany, and sees it in much the same way. It can be so powerful as to leave him unable to do anything for a while, apart from sit and come to terms with it.
Anyway, before we wandered off on one of the familiar Hall digressions, what I was saying was this - for me, ideas can come at any time and from anywhere.
I often get them from the newspapers, or seeing the proceedings of a court case, or just hearing or noticing something about the world as it flows around me. But if you look at it ruthlessly, most books - well, certainly mine, simple creature that I am - usually come down to one basic premise upon which the great edifice is built.
For me, with The TV Detective it was the shock of the change of life for Dan and how he coped. In The Death Pictures, all revolved around that simple idea for how a code could work. Evil Valley was based on one very unbalanced man, The Judgement Book was all about the secrets we keep, and The Balance of Guilt was based on the unfolding horrors of terrorism and the extremes that some go to in order to fight it.
As with so much of life, for a humble scribbler the idea is all. If that's right, then so much can flow from it.
The writers of Stoke Library have come up with a very good one and I'm looking forward to playing my part in it. For now, I shall say no more so as not to risk giving anything away - you know how easily I can go on if I don't watch out!
If you're interested in coming along tomorrow, there are more details on the News and Events page - www.thetvdetective.com/news.html