Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I was trying to think of what to write about today. I've been fighting that sensation of thoughts like rubber balls bouncing around inside my skull. When they rebound, it's even harder to grasp.

I end up drifting through the day in my own head, trying to settle on any specific thought I can grab.

I've already spoken about 'where I get my ideas,' and where I put them (notebooks!), so I figured I'd try to share a few thoughts about inspiration. For me, some of it can come from those overheard conversations, but word-nerd that I am, a lot of inspiration comes to me through visuals.

I love art. Before I really started writing, I was drawing. I still have sheafs of papers with drawings of aliens, elves, centaurs, some dragons and unicorns. Around sixth grade I started my first novel, unfinished. It was epic fantasy, I got about 40 single-spaced hand-written pages in, and the pictures of the main characters were inseparable from the story. If memory serves, the drawings came first, and the story developed from there.

Of course, I was utterly a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of writer then, so I still don't really know where the story should end. There were two sisters, princesses, running the kingdom while their parents were at war. Father was human, mother elf, and a tentative alliance between the species cemented in that marriage. There was a long lost prince, living as a thief in the capital city. I still love the characters, and I think there might be a strong kernel there (well, the long lost prince bit has been done to death, especially when he grows up to be a thief)...Uh, I'm going off on a tangent, aren't I? Point being, the pictures came first, the visuals inspired the story.

I still draw, but not as much, and I don't feel as compelled to draw character sketches of every person in every story. Other inspiration comes from others' art. When I'm trying to get in a darker mood for a story, I visit Lisa Snellings blog and look at her Poppets and other creepy sculptures. I have a long list of art blogs, some dark and creepy, some cartoonish, some realistic.

I also find a lot of inspiration in music. There are some artists or albums that just get me in the mood to write, and they tend to make their way onto every playlist I create for different stories. Most of the time, though, certain song swill invoke specific moods and I'll get a jolt that propells me toward one story over another. A recent addition, "Who Killed Amanda Palmer," inspired me to want to write a steampunk story, but with the story growing and solidifying beyond that 'feel,' I think I'll need more than that album when I'm ready to write.

Right now, I'm trying to think of a Halloween short story to write. Short stories are already not my forte, and sometimes I have a hard time thinking of a story plot when I start with something so general as 'I want to write a Halloween story.' [Strangely enough, the latest three stories are just so, Halloween, steampunk, and YA teen vampire (with a vicious rather than sexy, sultry vampire), which would partly explain why they're all taking longer to get from conception to 'sitting down and writing'.] What is happening with the Halloween story is that an image, or mention of some old urban legend or nursery story, will spark an idea, which I jot down. But so far the interest hasn't lasted long enough to reach the writing stage. I think I need to find a catalyst and then quickly feel around for additional little propelling images or songs. The inspiration is the first burst of forward movement, but the extra bits keep me going.

Huh, apparently skin sensitivity is at its highest between 10 pm and 1 am, according to this guy on Rachel Ray's talk show (he wrote a book on when it's the best time to do various things, like make love). That clicks as a bit of inspiration. You might be able to play with that idea in a sci fi story. Genetic manipulation/engineering?

Happy writing everyone,

1 comment:

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