I was going to say it was the “most productive” room in the house, but I didn’t want anyone leaping to the wrong conclusion.
Baby Duck came in as I started writing this post.
“Why is it the most creative room in the house? Oh, I guess because you spend so much time sitting there.” Then the most evil grin spread across his face. “Or should I say …”
I quickly cut him off. “Sitting is fine.”
“Where do you get your ideas?” is a question writers hear a lot. My number one answer in general is “in the bath”. When I’m drafting a novel I hop into the bath nearly every night. Something about the relaxation of it – or maybe the sheer boredom of sitting there with nothing to do or look at – prompts the ideas to flow. I can almost always rely on a nice long bath to give me a breakthrough when I don’t know where the story is going next.
But that’s in general. Today I want to tell you about the time when a bathroom gave me a very specific idea, which became the genesis of my forthcoming novel Twiceborn.
It was on a visit to a Gold Class cinema. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re a very swish movie-going experience. There are only about forty seats in the whole theatre, and they’re big reclining armchairs grouped in pairs with a table between them. There’s a separate bar area where you can order meals and drinks to be brought to you during the movie. Obviously it’s more expensive than a regular trip to the cinema, but it’s a nice luxury for the occasional treat.
They also have separate toilets, which are a lot more upmarket than the ones for general movie-goers. Spacious and gleaming, they feature beautiful tiles, automatic taps – and the ones at our local Gold Class have the most enormous stalls. The first time I visited one I remember thinking, wow, these are like personal change rooms. You could do anything in here!
Which of course started the wheels in my little writer’s brain turning over. I pictured a pregnant woman entering such a stall, then stripping off her clothes to reveal the pregnancy was only a prosthesis, which she then removed. Then she dressed in a new outfit, complete with wig, and walked out of the bathroom a completely different woman to the one who walked in, deceiving the people who were watching for her.
Who was this woman? Who was following her and why? I knew she was in danger, but not what form the threat took.
I needed a lot more ideas to make a book, but that’s how books grow. You start with one little glimmering of an idea, then you hurl a whole bunch of other ideas at it, till something new and sparkly results from the collision.
That scene in the bathroom became part of the first scene of Twiceborn. A whole 90,000- word novel resulted from one moment of marvelling at the size of the Gold Class bathroom stalls.
Best bathroom visit ever.
Where do you do your best thinking? Ever had a great idea in a really odd place?