Do Eureka moments really happen in the bath?

I have a huge list of things to do this year regarding my Brilliant Writing Career:  I was going to start off with the construction of my brand new website and then start editing my next novel, the third in the Fleet Quintet:  “V. Gomenzi.”  Instead, I’ve dropped everything and am trying to finish a short story I started last year in (I think) November.

It’s the very last in the first volume of Exodus Sequence stories, which makes it the ninth.  Called “Caged,” it reveals a number of secrets (or mysteries) I’ve been keeping from the reader since the first story.  It started off with wonderful ease – I trotted along for days until I realised that I’d gotten myself into a tangle.  So I started again, having sorted out the knots, but then reached the exact same point where I’d stopped in the first draft:  how was this story going to end?

I decided to leave it for a while, as one does – a sensible writer doesn’t labour when something won’t progress:  they go off and do something else.  I went off and had a lot of Christmas and (physical) pain and wondered how I was ever going to finish the horrible Christmas pudding I’d bought which no one in the house except me would eat.  (It was the Heston pud with chocolate sauce in the middle – you’d think it would be delicious but it was sickly sweet and made me feel ill, but it was so expensive I’ve had to keep going and it’s STILL not finished.)

But I digress.

I hadn’t planned to have a Eureka moment.  One doesn’t.  I got into my boiling hot bath – sucks the moisture out my skin but eases the shoulder pain nicely – and relaxed and EUREKA!  There it was:  the solution.  Honestly, could this be real?  Was I having an oh-my-god-it’s-so-obvious moment in the bath?!  I had to race for my notebook afterwards and scribble it all down as legibly as possible – I would have preferred to type it up but my computer was off and it takes so LONG to fire up.  Some of the notes I’ve since discarded – since beginning to write again on this short story yesterday – but most of them are brilliant and workable.  The end is close for this short story.

What always amazes me in these very rare moments is that the solution is often so brilliant that it ties up about fifteen different threads all at once.  It also forms a neat bracket with the first story, “Wired,” reflecting it in some way, which is highly appropriate since the second story is called “Reflected” and it’s a vital theme.  I love these Exodus stories – they connect in the oddest ways, not just through characters and themes but moods, scenes, actions, situations…..and none of these are planned.

Just one more helping left of that super-sweet Xmas pud…


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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3 Responses to Do Eureka moments really happen in the bath?

  1. mgm75 says:

    No, mine usually come about 2am when I am fast asleep. Within moments I am bolt upright, reaching for the pen and notepad!

  2. susannah says:

    You remember to have a pen and notepad next to your bed?! That is organised!!

    • mgm75 says:

      Thanks to my muse being so unaware of conventions such as “appropriate timing” it is necessary. She can be a right pain in the backside but she has given me some great ideas 🙂

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