A few years ago I bought some Fink family discussion cards (which are just brilliant and I totally recommend). They contain allsorts of questions that not only promote discussion, but enable you to discover a different and deeper side to people!
My favourite question in the whole pack was “What would be your superpower of choice?”
I didn’t have to think hard at all to answer that. It’s mind reading. Always has been, always will be.
I’m constantly curious about and intrigued by what people think and why (I should have studied psychology, but that’s a whole other story). I’m also incredibly nosey. And perhaps I have slight megalomania and rather fancy the idea of omniscience!
I asked this question on Facebook recently and was amazed by the craziness creativity of my friends’ answers. Some were things you might expect, e.g.:
– swimming underwater without breathing apparatus
– manipulation of time
– and flight (x lots of people)!
Others were a bit more “out there”:
– ability to create food from nothing, ready cooked, on a plate and delicious
– ability to be a monkey, as long as there were other monkeys around too and trees
– extraordinary key finding skills
– ability to redesign one’s home at a thought
– to see other dimensions
– a prehensile moustache
A couple of people were more altruistic and chose wisdom and the ability to cure all disease!
Only one other person wanted mind reading…
But then a couple of people made my desire for omniscience seem modest, declaring that they’d like the ability to grant superpowers to those who please them with gifts and servitude, and the power to crush entire worlds 😀
Recently while researching how to write a great pitch, it was suggested that a good place to start is where YOU started with the story, i.e. what led you to write it in the first place. It’s likely to be something you’re super passionate about and that’s important because the ultimate aim of a pitch is to evoke an emotional response in the listener/reader and make them think “I want to read that”.
One of the key times I’ve wished for the ability to mind-read is when I’ve been attracted to someone and wanted to know what they thought about me and how they responded to things I did or said. Allegedly actions speak louder than words – and I think I’m pretty good at reading people – but actions can also be easily misinterpreted. Mind reading would cut through all that confusion and uncertainty.
And that made me think – wouldn’t it be great to see a couple’s story from both sides?
Cue the inspiration for “You, Me and the Universe” and why it had to be written in dual narrative. How things seem on the outside are rarely indicative of how they really are on the inside. Celeste and Will (my protagonists) misinterpret each other continually and I wanted to show what was going on behind the scenes, so to speak, with each of them. There is a major “space between” (original story title!) between what they think each other thinks and what they really think.
I won’t ever be able to mind read, but at least as a writer I have to get fully inside my characters’ heads in order to make them authentic and realistic. That’ll have to do!