Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Where Does Inspiration Come From?
I find that inspiration usually comes to me, not the other way around. It kind of sneaks up on me when I least expect it. Sure, I often find inspiration in the 'typical' places - beautiful scenery, listening to music, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee ... these are the times when an idea that has already been planted can grow. I like to say 'perculate', since this is what usually happens when I get an idea - it morphes and changes as it floats around in my head for awhile before I try writing it down.
True inspiration, it seems, just hits me smack in the head when I'm least expecting it, however. (And not always at the most opportune time, either!) For instance, I've curled off and on in various leagues and bonspiels, and once, while I was out on the ice supposedly paying attention to the next shot, a thought for a scene popped into my head. It really didn't have anything to do with curling, but maybe just the freshness of the air or the echoing of the rocks as they hit each other brought a picture to mind which then brought an entire dialogue and ... well you get the picture. Anyway, my skip had to snap me back to attention with a bellowed 'Sweep!' It was very hard to focus on the game after that, though, as my mind kept wandering back to the scene that kept inadvertantly playing in my head.
I enjoy watching people in airports, waiting rooms and other public places. In my Art School days this was something most of us did on a regular basis - sit and sketch people as they went by. I've taken to a more subtle approach these days, cataloguing various characteristics in my brain for future reference in a novel or play. Eavesdropping on conversations can also be a gold mine for future dialogue, as long as you're discreet. :) For me, most of my writing starts with the characters, not necessarily the location. I love characterization, and always develop elaborate backstories for my characters (even minor characters) which may never be shared fully. I've learned through my time working in theatre that motivation is key to believability, and I am sure that this is also the case when writing a novel or any other story.
Many of the characters in my next release called My Mother The Man Eater got their initial start as Sims characters. Yes, its true, I must admit! I had a brief fascination with the Sims when it first came out. My husband called it 'Barbie's' for big girls, and I suppose in a way it was. I created an entire little community with all kinds of characters. Every person had a back story, of course, and I enjoyed myself making them interact, fall in and out of love etc. After awhile it got boring, but I saw potential in some of the characters and soon an actual story developed.
I have heard that some authors carry a notebook at all times and even have one beside their bed so that they can jot down ideas when they pop into their heads. I do usually have some kind of writing implement handy, but I usually just get up and go straight to the computer when a thought comes to me in the middle of the night. There's no point in trying to sleep until you've unloaded it properly and thoroughly, I've found.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the inspiration and support I've gained over the years from those closest to me. I posted a while back about my wonderfully eccentric and artistic mother in 'The Doreen Method' through whom I gained an overall outlook on life that has been conducive to creativity and thinking 'outside the box'. Of course, I can't ignore my ultimate supporter, my husband, whom I posted about in 'Relentlessly Optomistic'. Because of him, I have had the privilege of many unique (okay, sometimes just plain crazy!) experiences, been put in all kinds of unexpected situations, and have generally had tons of fodder for my writing imagination. Thanks honey! :) (Even though I probably yelled or complained at the time ...)