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Monday, March 9, 2015

Dear Uninspired Writer

Writers often complain about a lack of inspiration, and many ask their fellow writers what inspires their stories. That brought about this post. :)

Dear Uninspired Writer,

Don’t wait for your muse to lay shining inspiration at your feet, or for inspiration to strike. If you do, you may be waiting a long time while your unwritten stories spoil. Go out and seek that inspiration instead.

Throughout my writing journey I’ve been inspired for stories in many ways. Reading good books similar to the one I’m writing often puts a fire under me. Watching movies with scenes like ones I need to conquer greatly aids me with the details. Music also helps me to get in the mood for certain events. Actually, I listen to music every time I write at my desk.

Dreams are a huge source of inspiration as well. I have developed countless story ideas thanks to my odd, often suspenseful, and definitely romantic nightly dreams. 30 Seconds, my e-novella, came to me from a dream. Art and people are also great inspirational tools.

But writers don’t have to only rely on these common sources. Inanimate objects are everywhere and they offer endless realms of inspiration. To prove it, I will share with you three instances when inanimate objects inspired me:

1. Hurricanes

Hurricane Crimes was inspired by the hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan that wrecked havoc on Florida, one right after the other, in the span of four weeks in 2004. If I had never experienced these hurricanes, I wouldn’t have been able to write about Hurricane Sabrina—the fictional hurricane in my book—as intimately as I did.

2. A Screw

A screw? Yes, really. A screw gave birth to the idea for my unpublished series.

One day, when I was twelve years old, I sat down on a small grassy hill next to my house after a lone game of basketball. I was playing with the sharp blades of grass when my fingers brushed something stuck deep in the roots. I thought it could’ve been a lucky penny or a key to a secret place.

Curious, I dug it out and looked at my find. Unfortunately, it was not a penny or a key but a screw. The tip was crooked and it was crusted with orange rust. For the strangest reason, while holding that pathetic screw, a story came to me about an extraordinary girl in an alternate world.

I rushed inside my house, grabbed an old notebook and a black pen, and then ran back to that little mound of grass to write the beginning of that story.

I wrote fiercely, trying to catch all the words stumbling around in my head, and I've written every day since.

3. A Safety Pin

Don’t ask me why tools inspire me, but they do. One night, when I was going to bed, my gaze landed on a lone safety pin sitting on my nightstand. My mind instantly thought of how the protagonist in one on my WIPs could use a safety pin. And let’s just say it’s not what a normal person would do with one. ;)

So if you’re feeling uninspired, dear writer, read a book, watch a movie, listen to music, people watch, look at art, and even examine the inanimate objects around you. There’s inspiration all around just waiting for you to take notice.

QUESTIONS: What inspires you? Has something strange ever inspired your writing?
I’d love to hear your stories!

Have a writing-related question? Leave a comment and I may turn it into a post right here!

See Also:

Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.


Christine Rains said...

A screw and a safety pin. It's awesome that you're inspired by these inconspicuous every day objects. I get a lot of inspiration from dreams, people, and places. I once was inspired by a hole in a wall. I thought it made the house look like it was melting!

Huntress said...

A scene from a movie inspired how magic works in my world.
The scene is from Look Who's Talking, when Kirstie Alley is about to give birth, asks for medications, and the baby has a psychedelic episode. Those lights the kid sees are how I picture magic.

Great post!

Chrys Fey said...

@Christine, a hole in the wall inspired you? That sounds like something that would inspire me. ;)

@Huntress, haha! I love Look Who's Talking! I can picture that scene perfectly and can see how that inspired the magick in your fictional world. Funny thing, on my blog I posted about Magickal Spells. :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Chrys: I took a short story class and we picked a picture to write a story based on it. Hard to do, but I did and worked and worked and yes, it was published.

CottonSr said...

nice intro in blog. love the title of your book. good luck.

Unknown said...

Great post. I agree about not waiting for inspiration. Real life has some fascinating stories. All I have to do is watch the news and I think "what if"
From there a story develops

Chrys Fey said...

@Vicki, I've never tired a short story class, but I can see how it would be beneficial. Congrats on getting that story published!

@Cotton, thanks!

@Marlow, yes! The news has inspired stories and events for me as well.

Charity Bradford said...

Dreams are a big one for me, closely followed by music/songs and overheard conversations. I love when you only get one bizarre comment from a conversation and you have no idea what context its in. These can be great story fodder.

Chrys Fey said...

@Charity Aren't dreams great? And what's awesome about dreams is that they are free and no one else has the dreams you have, so you can be sure they are unique. :)

Vamp Writer said...

I loved that such small items served as your inspirations. My muse (thankfully) won't shut up. It goes on about things to put into my series all the time, especially when I'm trying to sleep! "To sleep, perchance to dream" but only if it's about what my muse wants in a story! (-;

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Love your inspirations!
I often carry a small recorder. My typing is too slow sometimes to capture the words fast enough.

Thanks, Chrys, and Unicornbell!

Barbara Bettis said...

Loved the post. Wonderful creativity in your daily experiences. That info about inspiration hit home. Thanks!

Unknown said...

From the sounds of these I'd say you're never going to have to worry about story ideas. Nice post.

Liza said...

Such a good reminder to keep our eyes open and remember that inspiration can come from anything.

Chrys Fey said...

@Vamp Writer, you're lucky that your muse is so chatty. :)

@Dixie, I've always wanted to carry a small recorder for those hits of inspiration. :)

@Barbara, you're welcome!

@Debra, I hope you're right. ;)

@Liza, thanks!

Liz A. said...

I don't know about strange. I tend to find when I read a story that doesn't end the way I think it should, I'll create a story that goes right.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like your description of the things that inspired you, especially because they're things that other people may have taken for granted and not realized the potential that were in them.
One thing that's given me ideas for stories is commuting, since I live in Chicago and regularly commute by bus and train. There's always a variety of commuters who are interesting to observe. I always carry my journal with me so that I can jot down interesting things that I see or hear when I'm commuting.

Chrys Fey said...

@Liz They always say to write they story you want to read. :)

@Neurotic There are a lot of things people take for granted that have the potential to inspire. :) I used to us the bus too and I have to say that the most interesting...odd?...people are on the bus. ;)

Lisa Thomson said...

Interesting ideas, Chrys! I love that you can look at an inanimate object and find a story for your character. You're so creative!

I also find inspirations in movies, newspaper stories and people watching. I read somewhere if you're feeling stuck tackle a different creative activity as it will open the mind to a different way of looking at things. My go to for this is painting. It helps take my brain to a different space and I feel refreshed and ready to write again.

Chrys Fey said...

@Lisa That's a good idea! Sometime if I can't write, I'll pick up my pen and try to design some new dresses, which I don't do nearly enough anymore. It always helps to let my mind shift to another task.

Robin said...

Reading often inspires me. I've even been inspired by a good movie or TV show. I guess just a good story does it. But, I'm open to being inspired by something as mundane as a screw:)

Chrys Fey said...

@Robin, go to a hardware store. Your muse may surprise you. :P