A couple of weeks ago, Roseanne Cash was blogging about her songwriting process at the NYT. This week it's Suzanne Vega (who I was listening to in the car just this morning). I like this:
Many times a song will begin with a clear image in my mind, but sometimes a song can begin with a melody popping into your head. How does it come? On an instrument? With a voice? On something unearthly that is neither, maybe. It could be a clear voice that says, for example, “Men in a war, if they’ve lost a limb, still feel that limb as they did before.” I heard that line clearly in my mind and it sounded like a voice to me.
But voices and visions are scary to admit to. And also you have to make time for them, or they go on to someone else.
Like what Cash had to say, this strikes me as equally applicable to the writing of fiction. Which I should get back to right now...