Guest post by Tobias Buckell, Author of Arctic Rising
One of the more frequent questions a writer gets is 'where do you get your ideas from?'
It's a question that in some ways I struggle to answer. I'm like a four year old kid, I find the world endlessly fascinating and everything prompts questions and ideas. I also have ADHD, so I have a harder time focusing and working sequentially, so I have an edge on most people. It's very easy for me to daydream because I don't have an instinct to focus on the primary item in front of me.
I was that kid staring out the window during lectures all the time. Or reading a book while listening to the radio and doing homework. When I get bored I tend to jump to the next shiny thing (ps: wikipedia is about as roughly addictive to me as heroine, I can disappear for many hours into a rabbit hole. I once lost six hours in a night to it).
So it's hard to pinpoint where a book 'came from,' but I can sometimes point to a few core ideas that got things rolling.
In the case of my latest novel, Arctic Rising, it was a great big 'what if?' That's often the case while writing science fiction. My friend Karl Schroeder had posed the 'what if' question to me while we co-wrote a short story together: what if the polar ice caps finish completely melting? What would happen?
I was never able to get that 'what if' idea out of my head, because even after had and I wrote that story together, I couldn't stop seeing more answers to the question in headlines that I stumbled across. Companies were planning deep water harbors in the far north. Companies were filing permits to be able to extra resources in the north. Airships were being planned for carrying cargo throughout the region. I couldn't help not see a continuous pattern of answers that wouldn't let me go.