Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. (Albert Einstein)
Authors, particularly of fiction, are hopefully all blessed with vivid imaginations. They can be resourceful, creative and inventive. They can dream up new ideas, invent fantastical stories and visualise scenes in 3D technicolour. The imagination is certainly a powerful tool for any writer. Without it, a piece of writing would be robbed of its interest. I would go so far as to argue that without a vivid imagination, you cannot be a writer – or at least a writer of any importance.
I believe most authors can identify with the excitement of the original idea. It’s thrilling when the seed for a new book is planted in your brain. You can almost feel your brain expanding as a rush of ideas speeds through it. You can’t wait to get started on your new project, to use your imagination to flesh out scenes, to visualise settings, to develop characters and plot. Imagination is thrilling and inspiring. It makes you feel privileged to be an author. How happy you are to be re-inventing the world, exploring new scenarios, connecting the most unlikely people to each other. Imagination makes your brain speed up, creating new connections and exciting new pathways.
How extremely powerful is imagination.
As an author, you may get excited if you remember your dreams when you wake up in the middle of the night or the early morning. Those dreams of yours are a rich source for your stories. Those dreams can fire up your imagination even more. They can get you to think of new ideas – ideas you might never have thought about had it not been for your vivid dream.
Millions of authors worldwide and through the centuries could testify to the creative possibilities of the seemingly ‘ordinary’: A wardrobe – in C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; a hole in the ground where the hobbit lives – in J. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit; chocolate, in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
With the power of the imagination at work, any object can be re-invented, resulting in some delightful entertainment.
As an author, you may think your plot is ‘ordinary’, but you have to consider authors like Jane Austen. She weaved magic out of the ‘ordinary’, everyday families and ‘ordinary’, everyday events. How well her imagination was at work when she created dialogue between, for example, Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. How she created dramatic tension in their exchanges! So, never underestimate the power of the ‘ordinary’ in firing up the imagination.
Enjoy your imaginative trip as an author. It is so worth it when you get to the end of your journey and have a completed manuscript in your hand.