On a history programme a few nights ago, a documentary illustrated just how synchronicity works in creative people – the right idea, at the right time.
- As a child, Jack Cover loved the young adult novels about Tom Swift, a young genius inventor – his favourite was Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.
- Many years later, Jack had become a physicist and was reading a newspaper at home. On the front page ran a story on the protests over the Vietnam conflicts of the late 60s and the need to find a non-lethal method to subdue angry crowds.
- As he paged through his morning newspaper, Jack then came across a small article about a man who had been shocked by an electric fence but had survived unscathed.
These three elements – his childhood hero, the need for a new type of weapon, the incident with electricity – sparked the idea for the first Taser gun.
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How does this work when we write stories?
This is exactly how it works in writing – if we open our minds up to the possibilities of the stories around us, if we live with an elevated sense of awareness, and if we are prepared to join the dots. That’s why writing prompts and daily writing exercises work so well — they allow you to explore these possibilities right there on the page.