Originally when I thought of this post, I remembered a few bits and pieces from conversations I'd had with the Engineer, and the original scene from the Matrix that inspired me to jot down the idea for Synthetica. But then one day last week, I was looking back through the folder I have on my laptop which contains all of my work for the book. It has pages of random notes, a spreadsheet containing the rough layout of the book's scenes, a detailed synopsis, random photos of my beat sheet and cake I posted on Twitter, first drafts, second drafts (all saved in different formats, depending on the computer I was using at the time) and another subfolder for my final drafts.
I decided to have a nosy at my original 'Ideas and Notes' file, just to see what I'd come up with and to see if I could work any of it into this blog post - and I was genuinely shocked.
Whenever I hear about other writers saying that their novel went on a 'journey' and it didn't end up how they imagined etc etc, there is always a part of me that is a tiny bit sceptical. 'But surely,' I cry, 'your book can't have been THAT much of a learning curve? You had the idea for it, surely it's still the same book??'
My god, have I been wrong.
You want to see a snippet of my original notes and ideas for Synthetica? Here it is:
(The original document is six pages long by the way, this isn't everything)
It's only looking back over these notes now, that I can fully appreciate how far my novel has come. I've even cringed slightly reading them back - in them, I can see snippets I've 'borrowed' from other YA books that I'd recently read, or themes in other YA books which I thought I had to have in mine in order for it to be a success.
I am so grateful that my novel outgrew these notes, and turned into something totally different. I can remember having one conversation with the Engineer while we were out walking in the Lake District - I was telling him my ideas for this novel, and we were throwing around ideas of the rich buying programs they could download directly into their brains, and thinking what the less well-off citizens of the city think/do in this situation. What if the rich kept the programs from the poor? Why would they do this? What would the poor do to retaliate?
But even back then, when I got home and wrote up those notes from our walk, I wasn't really feeling it. I don't mind reading books about characters who overthrow oppressive regimes, but let's face it - it's been done to death in YA. I knew what I didn't want from my book - I only had to figure out what I did want.
I don't remember exactly where the idea for the Hacker came from, but I have a feeling it was while I was watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Wherever the idea came from, as soon as I thought about him, that's when I knew - my book wasn't going to be about an evil government, or a regime - Synthetica was going to be about the fight between Anais and the Hacker, and the consequences of both their actions. To me, having an actual villain in a novel or a film makes the whole story more...relatable. It's a strange concept, I know, but I'll be explaining more about my thoughts on this in an upcoming blog post.
Anyway, so that's a small snapshot into the inspiration that Synthetica came from. I guess it just goes to show that you can find inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, if you're willing to look for it.
Until next time! Happy Wednesday, everyone!