Originally Calvin and Hobbes, Image from Yprep Academy

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Come again?” I blinked uncomprehendingly.

“I’m asking you — how do you get ideas and write?” He was looking at me earnestly, without a hint of his usual jocular speech pattern.

He, commander of written language, alchemist of creativity and overlord of perseverance, was asking me for advice on writing. Of all people! Of all subjects!

“Well, I’m not sure if I have the answers you want since I only just write funny short pieces on the internet for leisure,” I paused but he showed no signs of interrupting.

I continued, “but I view writing as a jigsaw puzzle. First, I get a general idea of the entire picture, of what the characters are and how the story goes. Then I write out the different parts of the story without worrying whether they would fit. Once I have enough of these pieces, I start to fit them together. Some pieces fit, some don’t, others require pieces that I may not possess or create yet.”

I was observing him carefully as I was explaining. But all the while, he was looking straight at me, concentrated as he nodded every now and then at my words. This was akin to giving suggestions about motivational talks to Nick Vujicic, or marketing strategies to Steve Jobs, or photography techniques to Anna Lebovitz!

“Thanks, dude! That’s some advice! Let’s hope I can get past the wall and move on with my story,” he smiled cheerfully and went back to his desk.

Me, assistant to one of the greatest contemporary authors, giving an advice to said author!