Sparks of Inspiration

Sometimes, people say to me, “I couldn’t write a book. I don’t know where you get your ideas.”

And I always reply, “Sure, you could. We make up stories all day long.The trick is to make up fifty little stories and string them together into a book!”

I am especially prone to making up stories about people in traffic who have earned my ire: cutting me off, driving too slow, driving too fast, weaving down the street or riding their bike on the wrong side, or walking in the street although there’s a perfectly good sidewalk available. (I seem to get mad a lot when I’m driving.)

If I pass someone driving too slow, the story I make up depends upon how that person appears as I stare at them when I’m passing. If it’s a little old lady, I think: she’s afraid of hurting someone. If it’s a sleazy-looking man driving slow, I think: he’s got drugs on him and doesn’t want to get pulled over.

If a well-heeled person in a nice car is driving too fast, either s/he is late too work or is a narcissist who believes everyone should get of their way – it all depends on how they struck me.

The inspiration for the books I’ve written and the ones beating around inside my skull are all some form of injustice.  Although I’m capable of making up a story about some slick-suited guy who jumped ahead of me in the dry cleaner line – and I might still use that – the injustice must be so egregious  that I am willing to commit to the research, drafting and endless editing and rewriting that a book or even a story demands, the ever-deepening self-examination that gives books their bass notes and that emotional roller-coaster we all know so well.

Sometimes I’m not clearly aware of what the story means to me until I’ve written it all or in part. Then as I scour through writing manuals, working the exercises specifically to my character and plot — which I am now doing in the middle of my first draft — the premise sharpens for me.  Needless to say, my daily word count is so dismal, it doesn’t merit notice. However, it’s my hope that this technique will eliminate most of the re-writes down the road.

So, Mysteristas, the question is: where do you get your inspiration?

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Sparks of Inspiration”

  1. Like you, everywhere and anywhere – including that idiot who nearly drove me off a bridge into a canal, cut me off to get in front of me and then, when I sounded the horn, put his car in reverse and stopped millimeters from my front bumper! I’m gonna kill him someday, I just haven’t figured out a painful enough way. Or wait, maybe he could be a villain Nah, I’m gonna torture him.

    My cozies always revolve around relationships and one wrong choice. My traditionals definitely revolve around injustice. Something I’m passionate about and want to fix.

  2. The ideas come from sitting around, reading the paper, overheard conversations…and yes, I might use a road rage incident some day (you and I sound like we have similar driving experiences, Keenan). But the stories all seem to boil down to relationships and professional commitments – how the two interact and what happens when they are at odds.

    Kait, if you want to brainstorm ideas, let me know. I’m still thinking about how to eliminate people who turn one-lane streets into two lanes simply because they don’t want to wait their turn – and who often nearly cause chaos in the process. Grr.

  3. Good examples here, Keenan. I’m all the time making up stories in my head about people I pass by—but you’re right that the trick is which stories or character to follow further, which ones might make it on the page. Good stuff here!

  4. My local newspaper. You wouldn’t believe some of the crazy stuff that goes on in my hometown!

  5. Great post!! I don’t know where I get inspiration. Every now and then, an idea pops into my head and makes me laugh. If I can twist into a bigger story, then I email it to myself with the subject line “Idea.” The NSA would think I was crazy if they searched my inbox.

  6. Loved this especially: “the ever-deepening self-examination that gives books their bass notes.”

    My inspiration can come from the weirdest places. An odd article about someone who died in prison, a strangely dressed person in a coffee shop, the young boy visiting neighbors whose laughter sounds desperate and forced.

  7. I get inspiration, like previous commenters, from everyone and everything I come in contact with. I love sitting in airports pretending to read my book but really “conversationally shoplifting,” in the words of a friend of mine. But not only their words, but their quirks, clothes, and speech patterns. I didn’t set out to do this, but the themes I seem to explore are normal people going about their mundane lives when — BLAMMO — something unusual happens to them. All they really want to do is hide under the covers, but I have to make them move one foot in front of the other to fix it. Whatever “it” is.

    The question “where do you get your ideas” always stymies me. They may as well ask “where do you get air?” So I go with the old standby and just say, “Cleveland.”

  8. Wonderful post, Keenan! I’m really enjoying reading through everyone’s comments. Becky, your answer made me LOL: Cleveland. Love it! It’s tough for me to pinpoint where my ideas come from–news articles, travel experiences, quirky people I’ve met, or just the mysterious ether. However, I was thinking yesterday how inspired I get when commuting, whether it be by foot, car, bus, or plane 🙂

  9. Love it! Most often, my ideas stem from a snippet of conversation, a story in the news, or a personal experience (yes, road rage incidents are well-represented), and then asking “what if?” People watching is another good source of inspiration.

  10. The best benefit is that it towel requires no special laundry procedures.
    Now that I have experienced them in production for the few months I would wish to share together with you my findings and
    offer you my opinion how the cameras perform.
    Best underwater camera reviews Easy Edit software
    adds to be able to “clip” favorite scenes through the user,
    bring them and add descriptions and photos, and videos are prepared
    to go.

    If that you are traveling with children, give each child a camera
    (use disposables for your young ones) and encourage them to adopt pictures too.
    May be you want a camera that may be easy to use and will produce images which are as
    good as being the pro.

  11. If you are seeking for any laptop at maximum screen size for minimum investment, the Dell Inspiron 17R is
    really a good choice. The Del XPS 15 laptop has a cache memory of 3MB, RAM 4GB, Processor-2.
    Best laptops for students under 300 The Toshiba Satellite L745D is instead shipping with a smaller
    14″ panel and a smaller chassis, making it essentially the most portable A-Series laptop currently on store shelves.

    This is really because; they recognize that how urgent it might be to suit your needs to replace, repair or change your Dell laptop. Among all the two brands are counts the best laptop brands in India which might be Dell Laptop and HP Laptop.

  12. Games include guests enacting scenes from various Western movies with others likely to guess the
    movie (a Western version of charades). By Al Link and Pala Copeland – 4 Freedoms Relationship Tantra.
    How to make a girl squirt This is about giving her assurance that they
    definitely has what can be done to turn yourself on, so she needn’t bother about that.

    ~ GET INSTRUCTIONAL BOOK & VIDEO “THE ART OF FEMALE EJACUALTION”.
    I cannot handle dirty feet while I am home I make her wash them but that isn’t always the case.

  13. Robert: Well, I think it’s really a tragedy that we’ve mismanaged
    our economy so horribly. In order to hear this kind of music, you might
    need having a good attention span, patience and having a thing for mysterious music.
    Baofeng uv-82l I had my dad’s child when I
    was 13, along with the baby died inside my arms.

    I was very surprised and disappointed to view Gallagher using this position. Best baofeng It’s a quirky little app, but in case you like knowing the
    lyrics or already use Tune – Wiki. That’s a huge wake-up call, when you take a
    look at how you’re going to pay this.

  14. This is a delightful treat for chocolate ice cream lovers who are on a diet.
    Thermogenesis is how our body burns up excess or extra calories that weve consumed.
    How many grams in a cup of water

  15. It provides G73 a fierce stance, but doesn’t bug you or anyone nearby with tacky LED lighting.
    In this example you turn out saving electricity as less processing speed means less power
    consumption. Gaming laptop less than 500 The HP Omen is now accessible for order inside United States
    having a starting sale price of $1499.

    Particularly in case you are someone to go geocaching inside the woods where you’ll find plenty of places to accidentally
    drop the GPS into standing water. Samsung Series 9 laptop is considered
    because the thinnest and lightest 13-inch notebook available.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s