Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inspire Me

People often ask me where I come up with ideas for my stories. The answer...everywhere. Seriously, watch what you say to me (no worries if you are a writer and start out by saying "this is my idea for a new story" - I'm not going to steal it from you) :D But in every day conversation....yeah, something you say to me may end up in my next book :D

I once showed my husband a scene from my my last book - and he burst out laughing because it was a pretty close rendition of a conversation we'd had once.

For me, inspiration is everywhere, in music, art, people, movies, books (have you ever wanted to write a retelling of a fairy tale or a cool twist on an old story?) When it comes right down to it, I suppose I’m inspired by life in general. Events of the past, my own life experiences, the experiences of others expressed through music, theater, art (a really great painting can get all kind of creative juices flowing – the walls of my house are plastered with historical romance inspiring art), movies, books, etc, watching the world around me, experiencing that world, living in other worlds through vivid dreams….all of this combines to create the stories that run through my head at all hours of the day or night.

A few of my favorite inspirations are:

- Music. Some songs just really hit me hard and make me want to write. For one of the stories I am working on, I pretty much have Apocalyptica's "Not Strong Enough" on repeat. And Ke$ha's "Take it Off" :D A few other bands that always inspire me are Coldplay, Everlast, Rob Dougan, Evanescence….those haunting melodies are just great inspiration for the drama needed for some good fiction.

- Art. My walls are plastered with art. Everything from Renaissance artists to abstracts to photographs. My husband teases me about it because there is not one blank wall in our house. I also troll the internet… is a great place for inspiration.

- Movies. Certain movies just really hit home and tweak emotions that are hard to contain. A big favorite is P.S. I Love You. I’ve watched it I don’t know how many times, because it makes me laugh and cry and drool (Gerard Butler…ummm gorgeous!). It makes me want to write something that will make people feel the way I feel when I watch it.

- Books. I read. A lot. And I mean A LOT. If you are going to be a good writer, I think it’s a necessary part of the process to read. I call it research. It gets me an eye roll from my non-reader husband, but it really is research. Most of the time I get lost in the story, but now, as a writer, I can never really shut off the edit mode. Sometimes I’ll come across a passage or a really good (or bad) dialogue sequence and think, “wow, I love how she did this,” or “ooo, I never would have worded this like this, it just doesn’t work.” Reading other’s work makes it easier to spot both the good and the bad things in my own work. And, like the movies and the music, sometimes I’ll read a book that just inspires me to write, inspires me to create something that will invoke the emotions that I felt while reading.

So tell me...What inspires you?


  1. i'm the same way. i get a LOT of inspiration from music (hard rock, preferably, with some coldplay and muse mixed in). sometimes the music itself or the lyrics form a picture in my mind that translates well to paper. i used muse's Knights of Cydonia for a kick-butt scene in a fantasy story. the laser sounds and neighing horses got the ball rolling.

    i find some inspiration in video games, too, believe it or not. i play a lot of RPGs, which contribute well to a fantasy-minded brain like mine. most of my WiP was generated from Final Fantasy X, but you'd never know it.

    my favorite movie to watch when i need some inspiration is The Fountain. not only is it visually astounding, but the interactions between hugh jackman's and rachel weisz's characters are so beautifully intimate that inspiration has no choice but to flow from it. i will be thanking Darren Aronofsky whenever my book is published. after watching that movie, i seriously wrote for almost 3 straight days.

  2. I get my inspiration everywhere as well. A line in a poem. A strange looking tree. A squirrel carcass in the road. True story.

    We are an odd bunch.

  3. I get it from everywhere, but the most vivid inspirations come from my dreams. I had one last night about fighting off Death. It was kind of graphic and pretty gross, but after I woke up it occurred to me that it would make an awesome creation for zombies...and I'm really not into zombies.

  4. I get inspiration by tuning an ear to relationships--why does she react like that, what made him the way he is? Delving into their backstory helps propel me forward in their story of the now :-) I also like to pick up interesting tidbits in history and see what I can do with them...

  5. I like the idea of something like Photobucket as inspiratin -- little windows into lives.

  6. Music is probably the most inspiring to me. Occasionally (and I mean rarely), I'll see something like a dappled clearing of grass that will inspire. My current story/series are strongly influenced by the mythology of the constellations, so that's my latest inspiration.

  7. I am a new follower! YEAY!!! Hope you will stop by my blog and follow back!

    Emma Michaels

  8. yes, life! it comes from every direction - so much fun to create stories from scenes

  9. Great post! I'm like lexcade in drawing from games, but I get my inspiration from Sims3. I've considered taking up D&D just for the plotting exercises alone! It works great for my kid sister.

    Photobucket: fabulous idea!

    I often find inspiration from old kid movies, random conversations, and overheard conversations. The latter can be the best sources because there's so much to be filled in by the imagination.

    You've said before, Michelle, that you're a writer even when you're not writing, and I think this post just illustrates that. A writer finds inspiration everywhere.


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