I love how some people rewrite history to make themselves look cool.
Not long ago I read of someone who had "stumbled on a picture in a book, which made her cry, then that night she had to write a story". Then we hear how well it did etc.
Trouble is the actuality was this was on a Kingfisher Barn writing course, where the tutor put picture books in front of everybody, got them to pick out 1-2 pictures that caused an emotional connection... we then discussed what that connection might "mean" internally, whad did the picture "connect to"... and we talked about how Dorthea Brande had highlighted why some things struck us and not others.
OK, so the students were then asked to use the picture, to write ABOUT THE PICTURE (what it drove, what it suggested) but to USE THEIR OWN INTERNAL ACHES, PAINS, PRESSURES for the story's energy.
Duly the story in question (plus many others) was written. It had a little of the ache, but as often happens, it missed the gold spot. Discussion, suggested edits followed. Any closer? Yes. More work, more edits.
Was it then a world-beater? No, but the writer had skill and was getting there. It was publishable, but still didn't quite hit home the way a comp winner does. The writer moved on. The story got the level of success a decent, imperfect story from a very good (but still learning) writer it deserved.
I write this because the author in question has produced a version of the events which cuts out
(a) a long hard apprenticeship
(b) an intense £60 a day experience which helped her to reach these insights
(c) the fact that the accessing was deliberate and engineered
(d) the fact that the picture and a gut response was one small (though crucial) ingredient
(e) there was input from the course tutor and others in group discussion
(f) the story was written "to order' via a writing course, ot through some mystical process
(g) the story had a lot of critical input and rewriting advice, rewriting
It's important to access the unconscious, to find the stories within us. But those stories come from a massive amount of work practice etc, often with one or more teachers. Beginners should not be misled into imagining that better stories come in some magical way. 95% DON'T.
We can find these "keys" using simple, understood, straightforward processes. Deliberate "dreaming", using photographs and objects, using flash prompts and story prompts.
While SOME, a few, stories may seem to come from the ether, many if not most come from craft, work, getting into the mood, with or without a crit-group, with or without an editor, with or without a tutor guiding us.
And when that first draft is complete, we should do our utmost to ensure that others know that critical input, editorial input, and one-two three or more rewrites produced the finished article, not magic