There’s a point in every novel where someone says or does something that sets a bell ringing in your head. It might not be a big thing in the scheme of the story, very often it’s just a remark or an observation that helps move the plot along or provide a little bit of back story. That’s what I think of asd the tipping point, where anything is possible.
But it can be enough to start a whole new train of thought and it can lead you to some strange places. It has driven me to produce sequels, prequels and spin-offs. And very often, it might not be the thing that you think it will be when you write it. The idea takes on a life of its own and it’s almost as if the characters, not the author are driving the narrative.
In the same way, something that happens in one place can often make the transition to another, for example, I have used the idea of a farm in space in several novels after it started life as the setting for a short story. It works, it fits in and it’s not so far beyond the realms of possibility as to be unbelievable, so why not use it.
After all, if I’ve gone to the trouble of creating a world, complete with all the things needed for life, it seems a shame to waste it or keep it for one scenario and invent something else next time.
And it’s the same with a lot of the back stories; as long as they have a basis in fact they can be adapted to all my worlds.
I like to think that I have developed a series of plausible things for our future, like the farm in space; it’s something that we could do, and it’s not too far-fetched. It has a practical side as well as just being part of the story.
Other ideas, like the turbines I had installed in every bit of moving water to generate electricity in one of my earlier works, now seem to be gaining momentum as an actual thing that may help to solve our present energy problems. See http://waterotor.com
Or the back projection system I devised for aircraft that makes flying feel like you’re in a bubble. Perfectly possible, even with today’s technology, so why aren’t we seeing it?
I can’t claim any credit for these ideas, but it shows that solutions present themselves too many people, while some write about them others actually get on and produce them!
And science catches up with my ideas in other ways, now we are investigating the rings of Saturn, just like Andorra Pett will be doing. Again it’s just a logical thing to do. And like all these things, we very often don’t do them until there is a point to doing them. At the moment, it could be argued that there is no point in travelling faster than light, there’s nowhere to go and we’re safe enough here. But what about if we discovered a planet that could sustain us, or the earth was threatened with disaster, how quickly might we develop the means then?
Anyway, back to my original theme, in writing you often get to a place in the plot where your story could go in two ways, a bit like life but with one minor detail. In life, you have to choose one and can never find out what would have happened in the other, in writing you can explore all the different possibilities. I used this idea in my short story “Tales from the Sleepers,” which you can find HERE, or you can download as a pdf to read later HERE The story is taken from my collection Flash Fiction, which you can download FREE HERE