Write Into Life

Where do you get your ideas from?

Farewell Spit seen from space: 26 km of sand dunes curling around Golden Bay

I wish I had a mansion in Remuera for every time someone asked me this question: “Where do you get your ideas from?”

Usually the answer is — “I don’t know! My head is teeming with ideas. Isn’t yours?”

I think a head teeming with ideas is normal. The difference is that a writer has to trust those ideas. To be curious, run after them, tussle with them, stare at them from every angle, and find the process utterly fascinating.

New writers are inclined to distrust their perfectly good ideas, dismissing them as feeble instead of playing with them until they develop into something exciting, something unique.

In the case of my novel Humming, the core question is very easy to answer. No mystery! I got all the ideas for Humming from an 18-month sojourn in Golden Bay, Nelson, New Zealand! The village where I lived, Puponga, is that brown corner just at the base of the long arm of Farewell Spit. It’s a spectacular, strange, remote place with a unique topography, drenched in atmosphere and crammed with fascinating people.

When you see the images in the PDF below, I hope you’ll see what I mean.

Humming: see what inspired the novel [PDF]