Putting a Lemming on it
Whenever I’m asked where my writing ideas come from, I often say that I don’t know. This response tends to be unsatisfactory, so the only thing I can offer is that I ‘put a lemming on it’.
My girlfriend introduced me to this phrase. Whenever she has to do something that involves brainpower, but doesn’t need doing immediately, she ‘puts a lemming on it’. The phrase is based on the once massively popular computer game where you have to prevent lemmings from stepping off the edges of cliffs or walking into sharp objects. She imagines one of the little fellows taking her thoughts and disappearing off into her subconscious mind. Then when she needs the information, it’s waiting for her, gathered and collated by a rather industrious lemming.
So, when someone now asks me where my ideas come from, I imagine an army of lemmings wondering around in my head, bumping into one another and occasionally falling into the abyss. When they’re done, they present me with a fully formed story. When I tell people that I put a lemming on it, I’m not sure that the answer is any more satisfactory than ‘I don’t know’, but it tends to stop any more questions.