What do we feel when we’re inspired? What comes to mind? What causes us to stop and think? Or maybe, if you’re like me, to stop and jump up and down squealing when a really good idea hits us. And most of all, what inspires us?
Sometimes it’s a picture, a scene from a movie or show, or even a single sentence. Sometimes even a title can inspire a story. Unfortunately, the problem with that is that often, that idea is taken by whatever possesses that title. Especially if it’s a story. I was about to watch the trailer for The Maze Runner, and I thought up my own sort of plot, like, ‘Wow, that’s a really cool idea. I bet it’s already taken by the original author.’ Of course, it was. I haven’t read ‘The Maze Runner’ yet, but I think it looks good.
I love having a fellow writer to bounce ideas off of. Little things the other can say can inspire huge plot fixer-uppers. Of course, the downfall of that is if the other writer has an inspiration they think is better than yours, part of you feels inclined to give in. If it’s a group effort, then you do have to give in to other’s ideas. That’s why it’s thought that books written by many people tend to be less successful, especially series. Two book series known to be written by multiple people that I can think of are the ‘Warriors’ series and ‘Nancy Drew’.
Often, if I feel creative, I can just look at something and feel sudden inspiration. I was standing in the bathroom about to clean the tub in front of the mirror, trying to decide what to do with my new braided leather bracelet that wrapped twice around my wrist. I ended up unraveling it and wrapping around my neck once. I admired myself in the mirror, trying to decide if this was an acceptable thing to wear in public, aka with my friends. Suddenly, I was hit with a burst of inspiration. What if I had a character with a tight leather necklace like this, and she couldn’t take it off for some reason nobody knew? It was a smidge of an idea, but it was definitely something. It was something I should’ve written down, because now I can barely remember my idea.
Pictures of things that bring back memories can also trigger new ideas. I was looking at some Christmas cards sent from family, and was thinking of memories from the last time I saw them, which was Thanksgiving of 2014. I thought of something one of my cousins said and was contemplating it when it hit me. People are grouped together in large clans/gangs/tribes/better word randomly. Then, random people are selected for different roles. Once they are chosen, they have to train for that position whether or not it suits them best. This brings about tension between the groups, since people dislike the positions they or others were given. It could be a wonderful story, but again, needs a great deal of fleshing out. I have no idea how that one little episode with my cousin caused me to think of a plot basis like that, but it did.
Browsing the internet can be a great way to think of stories, but it can also put your brain to sleep and completely distract you from doing anything productive.
True words, right there (though perhaps a little insulting…). I think we can all admit to being distracted by the internet multiple times during one writing project.
So what inspires you? What gets your creative juices flowing? What makes you gasp and scramble for a piece of paper? What makes you smile like an idiot at completely inappropriate times? Post in the comments below!
This is The Raven, off in search of Inspiration.