The Publishing Process, Writing Advice

The Idea’s Shop. ‘Where do your ideas come from’ and ‘why do writers eat so much cake?’.


‘Where do you get your ideas from?’  Asks Everyman.

Mwah ha ha, we jest hilariously, ‘The Idea’s Shop.’

Idea’s Shop!  Ha.  What a ridiculous idea.

Isn’t it?

I’m reading Steven King’s ‘On Writing’.  It’s been recommended to me more times than I can count but I’ve put it off over and over.  Steven King and James Herbert made quite sure I didn’t sleep properly for most of my teenage years.  I was a bit afraid that if I let any of King’s words back into my head I’d be having those same old Pet Sematary dreams.

Not so far.

So far I’ve met a man whose memory pattern chimes a cord with mine and who gathers ideas in the same way I do, in, I suspect, the same way we all do. King joins in with the jest, of course there is no Idea’s Shop.  He  contends that having great ideas is not even the writer’s job, the writer’s job is recognising good ideas when they show up.

This has come into sharp focus for me as I start writing a new novel. It’s a crazy idea. Insane. Where on earth did it come from? Did it just pop into my warped little mind, unbidden, from nowhere? Did I pop along to the idea’s shop and request something high concept and totally mad that was going to be almost impossible to pull off and keep my sanity?

No. But I can trace the parentage of this idea very clearly.

This blog: + this book ‘Is-Just-Me’ by Miranda Hart + a slightly odd perspective I have always had on my own past and future + dream time and months of  work = New Novel


I suggest there IS such a thing as the Idea Shop, and we are all our own shopkeepers. We stock the shelves with parts of our everyday lives that strike us as worthy, we stuff the back room with all the things that we aren’t sure will be of any use but  aren’t quite prepared to throw out ‘just in case’.   We all have an Idea’s shop in ours heads and what is more,   it works exactly like a cake shop.

No one wants to eat flour and eggs, ‘uncaked’.

That’s where the magic happens. Where we mix up the flour and eggs, the butter and sugar, add orange flower oil and icing sugar. The  ‘what if I put that with that?’ moment  that produces  something worthy of the table.

We share a little taste with others.

Quite often we get it wrong and have to fiddle with the ingredients and the cooking time, until finally, triumphantly, we turn out something worthy of a nibble.

No wonder we eat so much cake, we’re just keeping our stock fresh.

Writers need Cake. Q.E.D.

Tea anyone?

7 thoughts on “The Idea’s Shop. ‘Where do your ideas come from’ and ‘why do writers eat so much cake?’.”

  1. I like that image Katherine, my mind being full of shelves, each one containing little nuggets that might be ideas for the future…Mind you, I also like the image of a cake shop with shelves full of cake!

  2. I think if you eat enough cake before bed that would probably work Lynn. I may try it in the interests of science. I am DEDICATED I tell you, DEDICATED.

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