I couldn't tell you where, exactly, the idea for Hot Crow and Paper Lion came from. I recall the crow appearing before my mind's eye, majestic and fully formed, tipping his top hat to me. But I can't tell you why or where he came from. What I can tell you is this: I wasn't thinking about writing.
There seems to be two approaches you can take to creative ideas. The first involves sitting down with a notepad, taking a pen or pencil, or even booting up the computer and prepping a blank page on your favourite word processor. Then you say to yourself, Okay, I really need a new idea. I want to write a new short story. So you stare at the page, you tap your pen (probably not your laptop, though) against your forehead as if the action will dislodge something brilliant. You stare into space and think -- think really hard -- about characters, stereotypes, how you might break from a stereotype, fantastical creatures, a world newly forged from stardust, maybe some type of magic no other writer has conjured. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, your minutes or hours with the blank page and the writing tools you've gathered over the years produce something worthwhile.
Then there's the other method. And it isn't much of a method at all. It's called Getting on with Life. Just going about your daily activities -- work, hobbies, family time. Anything but writing. And definitely not thinking really hard. Walking around, admiring the views, absorbing the world and life.
And then -- ah! What's this? An idea. Random? Maybe. Or some amalgamation of things subconsciously blended into something new and interesting. It's as if a veil has been lifted and you've glimpsed something that was there all along, hidden.
I know which approach I enjoy the most. Some of my best ideas come from not trying to think of ideas. Not actually writing at all. And that's where Hot Crow came from, beyond the Veil, with Paper Lion prowling close by.
Thanks, M J! Very interesting! Be sure to check out all the stories on August 31, 2020!