The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it.’
C. S. Lewis, “It All Began with a Picture” (Source: Wikipedia)
So, the story had its beginning in 1905, when Lewis was sixteen.
Later in 1939 a group of children came to stay in his home in the countryside near Oxford where he was a professor. It was then that he scribbled a draft of the first paragraph of the book.
In 1946 he wrote down the idea for a cupboard that led to a mystical land.
Apparently he attempted to write a children’s story for the next two years.
Finally, in 1949 he read two chapters of the story to a writer friend and got good feedback on it.
He finished the manuscript in 1949.
Let’s do the math here:
It took 44 years for Lewis to give that faun a story.
He wrote the book ten years after he had the idea for a story about children being sent to the countryside during the war.
Finally, it took a little bit of positive encouragement from a colleague he respected to finish the story. He immediately started and finished writing the first sequel in the same year.
Here is what I learn from this:
Take your time.
Let a story develop in your subconscious.
Combine multiple story ideas into one.
Find other writers whose opinion you respect.
Look for inspiration everywhere.
Jot down story ideas whenever they occur to them.
If an image of a character sticks in you mind, give him a story.