I had a particularly complicated murder to figure out (for a book, of course!). I had a vague idea of what it had to look like, and knew it had to be not immediately obviously a murder and yet had to be solvable, eventually. I sat at home, and thought, and got no-where.
So I took a book and went to a cafe and had a cup of tea, and sat there for three hours and read my book and bit by bit, it all came together in my head. How it was done. How it looked. How it could be solved. The neat trick. The ties to the suspects. All of it, and I came back and wrote it all up (only as notes at this stage, I haven’t started writing the book properly yet).
It wasn’t the book I was reading, or the cafe or the tea that prompted me. It was the change of scene. It was sitting there, concentrating on someone else’s words, looking out at a different scene. And as I read a little voice in my head piped up ‘what if….?’ and ‘perhaps it was…’.
I keep reading about writers, fictional (for some reason I’ve been reading a lot of books about murdered writers lately) and real that have to go somewhere to write. At first I could never understand this – surely a writer can write anywhere? But I think I am coming to understand – the change of scene is necessary not to write, but to think differently. A new place is needed for new thoughts.