This week's question comes from Martha:
Where do you derive inspiration?
I think I
get asked this particular question more than any other. I admit, even though I
write, I still ask this question sometimes. Typically, the mark of a good book
is when I end thinking “where did they get the idea for that?”
I see a
lot of articles and tips on how to manufacture inspiration. Many involve “people
watching” at the mall or coffee shop. I still contend that this will freak
people out more than it will help story ideas, but who knows. I have also heard
of people reading newspaper articles and watching TV shows (or just reading books
for that matter). When I first began writing, I mimicked songs, so I would
suggest this particular method above all others. Some people devote their time
to writing prompts and others join writer’s groups. Writers have to be careful
on the latter, though. There is a thin line between finding inspiration from
other writers and stealing their ideas, which is frowned upon.
I found a blog on inspiration this morning, trying to figure out how I was going to
answer this question. It lists dreams for one of the methods. I found that funny
because it’s not like I can control my dreams…if I even remember them when I wake.
But, I must admit that I have had dreams lead me to certain scenes. For
example, in the novel I just finished about a family who can manipulate fate, I
came up with the idea of a sisterly feud from a dream that was so vivid I woke
up in a funky mood. Stephenie Meyer often says Twilight came from a dream of
Edward talking with Bella in a field, which she later wrote into the book. So,
while I can’t control my dreams, I think this is the strongest source on that
actually hate when people try to come up with lists for writers to try. Typically
my sources tend to be out of my control. The Curse of Atlantis came from a
teacher proclaiming in history class that we will find the ruins of Atlantis in
seven years (he was a little wacky, but some of the best teachers are). The
Lord of Nightmares came on a dark night when I was feeding my rabbit and I
looked up at a full moon, envisioning blood running over it.
where my stories come from, they tend to stay stagnant until I fall onto a question.
The Curse of Atlantis was “What if we did find Atlantis?” which turned into “What
if they existed and had a curse?” The Lord of Nightmares was “What if
supernatural beings were the reason behind horrible crimes on the news?” The
sequel to the curse is “What happened to Zeus after the war?” My ideas actually
don’t start to generate until the question is defined. Where the question comes
from changes, but it normally doesn’t happen until I am almost done with the
book I’m currently writing—I am not one of those writers who can write multiple
books at a time. This, of course, leaves me with the fear that the ideas will
suddenly stop coming. Then, maybe, I will go to the lists of manufactured
sure where inspiration comes from while a story progresses. My method of
writing involves talking out the plot with my mother (because she tolerates my
crazy questions and synopsis, even giving ideas of her own). Besides that, I
listen to my muse and let the story run.
short, where does my inspiration come from? I like to think it comes from God
whispering in my ear.
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