Have you ever been writing a book and in doing research for one of your chapters come across a book that says it all and perfectly? No? Just me, then?
In researching for the chapter on AUDIENCE, and the concept of scenius in particular, I came across Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the creative collaboration of the Inklings, by Diana Pavlac Glyer. My intent was to learn enough to STEAL FROM THE BEST for an illustration of how sceniuses work.
What I found was a highly readable treatise on the whole concept of scenius. Not only does Glyer give us the history of the famous group and how its members influenced and supported each other, she tells us how to do it ourselves. In fact, by the end of the book she is explicitly giving us instructions on How To Do What They Did, and it's killer.
She calls members of a group like the Inklings resonators, people who receive, amplify, and reflect the creative ideas and projects of the other members of the group. She defines the ways that the Inklings did this and discusses each aspect in clearly written chapters. At the end, she adds a chapter on STEALING FROM THE BEST, exploring not only the Inklings but also the same ideas I'm exploring in my chapter: resonators are not just the people with whom you share a pint every Thursday night, they are also the great artists of the past. "Leaf mould of the mind," as Tolkien put it.
All in all, I think I can go back to my chapter on AUDIENCE and replace the section on scenius with "Go read Bandersnatch." Certainly makes my day easier.