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Have you ever had a scene snippet pop into your head — vivid as real life — and not known where the heck it fits? Or even it it fits at all?

This happens to me again and again, not only at the start of a work (where often a visual snippet is the very seed of the story) but even very late into the process.

Some of these snippets are duds, of course, but it’s surprising how often they’re on target. It’s not uncommon for them to answer questions I haven’t even thought of, which is one reason why it can be hard to place them at first.

I was thinking about this today because of one particular snippet that came to me a good six months ago, one that involved a secret door. It excited me at first, until my logical mind kicked in and said, “But a secret door doesn’t make sense.” So I ignored it, even though the snippet came back to me several more times — before bed, while paging through an art book, and in that all-time great snippet-studio, the shower.

And then last night I hit a snag — for which that snippet turned out to be the perfect solution.

Spooky, no? But it’s this kind of spookiness that makes me fall in love with writing all over again.

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