How writers generate ideas

One of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I give a talk is “How do you generate ideas?” The honest answer is: I don’t.
Oh, I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. I’ve sat at the computer all morning and willed myself to generate an idea. Sometimes, after a few hours of mental torture, if a deadline is looming, I’ve managed to squeeze out something, just one idea at least. The trouble is, I know even as I’m typing it out that it’s not very good.

The best ideas, you see, come in a completely different way.

J.D. Salinger and phonies

The other day, I picked up a copy of The Times because of the news of J.D. Salinger’s death on the cover. I read about Catcher in the Rye and its skewering of “phonies”, and[…]