Thanks so much for inviting me to guest post, Marilyn! Today we’ll be talking about Inspiration.
Without inspiration, there are no books. And I’m not talking about being one of those writers who only writes when you’re inspired (if that’s the case you probably haven’t finished many books, unless you’re one of those crazy-inspired people whose muse never needs a day off). What I’m talking about today is the idea that inspires you to write a book, or even just a scene.
There are some people who have ideas spilling out of their brain. So many ideas that they don’t know what to do with them. They give their ideas away because they don’t have time to write them all. I used to be one of those people, but the ideas dried up. I blame that evil monster known as editing for sucking away the inspiration of my muse. Don’t worry – my muse and I have learned how to fight back.
I know – some dreams just don’t make sense. But sometimes you can find a little tidbit of nonsense in there that will inspire a bit of story. I once dreamt of striking blue eyes at a wedding, and I felt like I should know the person but didn’t. I couldn’t get those blue eyes - or the feeling that I should know who they belong to - out of my head for the next day, and it inspired a short story about a woman who had gone through some sort of trauma and remembered her life before it incorrectly (the blue eyed man was her husband, but the way she remembered it his best friend was her husband).
- Sigma Xi Smartbrief: https://www.smartbrief.com/sigmaxi/index.jsp
This used to be “Science in the News Weekly”, but they’ve changed it to a daily email about the most interesting news in science. While most of the medical stuff is over my head, there are always some really interesting articles about space, biology, or archeology that peak my interest and can inspire a story or scene. Much of my current WIP’s culture comes from articles I’ve read in the archeology section of these emails, and I’ve got a story brewing about a young boy living in an underground city that came from an article. Need a creature for your fantasy world? Check out some of the cool new species people are finding every day (or extinct species people are finding fossils of every day).
It’s not cool to plagiarize someone else’s work, but reading can inspire all sorts of ideas. A beautiful turn of phrase can inspire the words to come pouring out of your own head. A great description of setting can put you right there and make you wonder what else could happen in that place. A decision by the main character can lead you to wonder what would have happened if they made the other choice instead. Put your character in the same situation and see what happens if they make the opposite choice.
I’m one of those people who writes to music. My fights scenes are choreographed to certain songs, and I’m always looking for the perfect mood music for my scenes. Sometimes I’ll hear a new song on the radio and the music or lyrics will be perfect for a character, and the song will weave scenes in my mind. Pretty much all of my big-impact scenes were inspired by songs, in fact.
I’m a total hippie when it comes to inspiration. Many times all it takes for inspiration to come my way is a walk through the woods, or sitting in my backyard listening to the wind through the trees and birds calling to each other.
There are tons of ways to find inspiration. These are the things that work best for me, but keep your mind open and inspiration will come to you too. And remember, when all else fails there’s always wine: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforkinit/2012/04/alcohol_problem_solving.php
Tell me, how do you find inspiration when the well seems dry?
Rebecca Enzor is a nuclear chemist in Charleston, SC, who is obsessed with sticky notes and custom My Little Ponies. She writes New Adult and Young Adult Fantasy. Find out more at rebeccaenzor.com