Friday, October 9, 2015

On Inspiration

I'm pretty sure I've done a variation on this post before, but it's been a while, so I thought I'd do it again:

Where do writers get their ideas?

I can't speak for all the writers out there, but mine come from… everywhere. Sometimes a random conversation can spark a whole book—that's happened to me twice: once chatting with friends over watermelon (it was SO good. I was visiting Georgia in the summertime, and all watermelons after have been compared to that one and found wanting) about cupbearers, and once at a stoplight with my sister when I wondered aloud what would happen if a specific group of people—and ONLY that specific group of people—had the ability to do magic.

Sometimes a frame of a movie causes my brain to go off in a different direction (whole book ideas were sparked by REVENGE OF THE SITH and the first ROCKY, respectively. In fact I'm currently outlining the latter).

Music is CRAZY inspiring to me. Once upon a time in 2006, I was listening to the band KEANE's album UNDER THE IRON SEA, and the atmosphere of the music and the lyrics were hugely inspirational in brainstorming, outlining, and drafting the novel I wrote that year (the novel that, several incarnations and a handful of years later, garnered me my agent this spring). I did most of my summer revising to the soundtrack of the band OF MONSTERS AND MEN's album MY HEAD IS AN ANIMAL.

Reading inspires me. Art and nature inspire me. Sometimes I have no idea why a certain thought or image jumps into my head—they just appear. Often I'll have ideas for characters before the plot, occasionally they'll come intertwined. You just never know.

I have a Moleskine notebook (it's looking rather battered these days) that I jot down my random ideas into. If I don't have it with me, I write them down on my phone. I've recently started a Scrivener Idea File, too, for exploring ideas that aren't quite ready to be their own thing yet. It's fun to flip back through my notebook and see the date I had certain ideas.

So for me, ideas are everywhere. You just have to be paying enough attention to snag one when it comes along.

1 comment:

Virginia said...

I have a similar experience with ideas. They seem to come from wherever, and occasionally wherever is a very strange place indeed. I do my best brainstorming when I'm out walking in the woods (and occasionally on runs). Not sure why that is except that exercise is great for the brain!