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I had the dubious pleasure of ‘enjoying’ a flight with a bunch of very young children in tow recently. And, as these things tend to go, inspiration hit at the most unlikely of times.

Constantly distracted by toddlers waging war/ babies screaming/ children needing the loo, the inflight news-followed-by-movie took on a form of its own. Headphones were, under the circumstances, never going to cut it as an accessory, so they never left their pristine plastic enclosure. Which is what fuelled the inspiration.

Trust me, it’s amazing. Just put on a movie that you have rarely or never seen before and turn the television on mute. Then make sure you’re suitably distracted by doing something else – cooking or gardening works well, but even checking Facebook, surfing the latest book lists for future reads or even flicking through a magazine will suffice. Then look up at the TV, at irregular intervals, preferably for about a minute or two. Continue with your other task and repeat until the movie credits.

Now, write down your version of the movie’s plot. You will, of course, have gotten the drift of what was kind of happening in the movie, but your interpretation will, probably, vary significantly from the original screenplay’s view and unfolding of events.

And there you have it: a plot idea bourne out of multi-tasking poorly. Who says writers always need to use all five senses?