Mar 032012

I fell asleep thinking about a topic for today’s post. That doesn’t sound
promising, does it? So. It’s late and I’ll be brief. And appropriately, I’ll
take about midnight inspiration.
of us keep an ink pen and paper on the nightstand next to a phone in order to
write down a message for someone else or a reminder or a telephone number. It’s
a holdover from a bygone, primitive age, but it’s still a handy one. And for
writers, it’s a method by which we can preserve that random idea, that bit of dream
world flotsam or jetsam, which we write down at 3:16 AM, when it seems so
clear, so brilliant, so worthy of preserving, an transform it the next day into
what will no doubt become the spring board for a franchise on the order of
Spenser or Dave Robicheaux or Raylan Givens. The problem which occurs more often
than not, however, is that upon awakening, one discovers that the phrase, hurriedly
scrawled on that piece of paper, turns out to be something on the order of “guy
robs bank.”
dream ideas worked, I would be James Patterson or something like them. I have
heard apocryphal tales of unnamed authors who transformed such hastily
scribbled nocturnal notes into literary gold. I’m not sure if they are true.
Michael Mann, the story goes, was wide awake in his office, seated at his desk,
when he wrote down the phrase “MTV COPS” on a notepad. It was the beginning of Miami Vice. I’ve written down such gems
as “nosebleed” and “empty rooms” and “she’s a rabbit.” When I turn one of those
feathers into gold, you’ll hear about it here first.
you ever written anything down into the dead of night that turned into a novel
or story over the course of the following several weeks and months? If not, can
and will you share some of the phrases that seemed like such a great idea in
the dead of night, but could not withstand the light of day?