I know that sounds ridiculous, but more and more lately I'm finding that it's true. I'll come up with an idea for a story, a play or whatever, usually just a skeleton concept, character fragments and some hint at what actually happens, but then it doesn't go any further. So I just forget about it, presuming I'll come back to it someday. Then, months, sometimes years later, out of the blue it'll come and smack me in the back of the head.
"Forget what you wrote down before," it tells me, "this is how the story is supposed to go!"
And it's usually right.
Very often, the story is a stripped back and streamlined version of the original. I had a bad habit back in the day of trying to add too much drama to my stories, adding in storylines and subplots that just didn't need to be there, and that usually I didn't know enough about.
The best known rule of writing is: