Thursday, July 2, 2009

What inspires you?

I have a handful of works-in-progress at the moment. I'd like to take a moment to share my inspirations for them, but more importantly I would love to hear how you got inspired to write your current WIP, your debut published work, or anything else that really gets your creative juices going.

Novel series #1 I have been working on since I was in high school. (Which really only seems eons ago but in actuality I only graduated high school 6 years ago. Now you know why culinary school fell through for me this fall. Too much school!) Its inspiration is really, to me, the most interesting and the most difficult to work around. It started out as an attempt to write a screenplay. The earliest notebook of random drivel that I have for this series is all focused on screenplay elements. As I was going about trying to name characters, none of whom are actually the protagonist of the series. (Problem! I know! I'm working on it!) But then I came across the name that fell to my protagonist and I was instantly enamored of the plot line that it sparked. Though it is perhaps fairly cliche and will never get off the ground. But the main character's name is the driving force of the story. Or rather, its meaning is the driving force. I've never forgotten once what her name means while the rest of the names, if I chose them for any sort of cool meaning they may have, have fled my memory in that regard.

Novel series #2 started out pretty controversial. It's still in the early stages of world-building and plot-hammering-out, but it'll get there eventually. I changed what the initial spark was because I didn't want to seem like I was condoning slavery. So I've come up with a magical means of my character accomplishing what she wanted to do. Now I just have to figure out all the rest of the details, like a plot and a storyline, and side characters. But I think I do have written down somewhere a scene in which one of my protagonist's two love interests nearly blows the entire thing out of the water. (Not their relationship, but the thing she's doing that originally involved slavery that I've now changed completely. And I'll be asking my readers for complete suspension of disbelief while they read this work.)

My most completed poetry manuscript is a chapbook of ekphrastic poetry that I wrote as the final project for a poetry workshop I took this last spring as I finished up my masters' degree in English. It was the only work we really had to do for the class, outside of working in small groups to critique each others' poetry, and workshopping 3 times during the semester. I spent the first two months of the semester just pounding out the poems. Each one was either sparked by a favorite painting, posters of which hung on my walls, or by thumbing my way through the many art books I've collected since beginning my journey as a humanities major in my undergraduate years and looking for the paintings that would scream their stories at me from the pages of said books. Never having considered myself a poet before this semester, I hammered out 5 really passable poems in one evening! It was amazing!

I have 2 other poetry chapbooks in the works, neither of which is very far along. The first is a chapbook that will feature poems severely grounded in place. I've lived a fair few places in my day. The month in Boston while my dad had his transplant and the two-month study abroad program I did as an undergraudate were the shortest but the most impactful on my life. The other one is an experiment in Asian forms of poetry, specifically haiku and tanka. It's much further along than the one about where I've lived in my life.

My last WIP is a book-length collection of poetry about family, love, and loss. It's heavily centered on associations with pop culture, namely Star Trek and Star Wars, and probably the second-most-developed of my poetry collections. (Yes, I'm a total nerd who loves Star Trek and Star Wars. I pretty much grew up watching Star Trek with my family around our living room table and watching the original, and best, Star Wars trilogy with my family.)

I have a novella, I suppose it would be called, that I'm considering working on developing into book-length. The genesis of this project was one of the many daydreams I've had in my brain and so the protagonist bears a striking personality resemblance to its author. Unintentional, of course. It is contemporary romance but will need a lot of re-working as I've learned a lot of information that will need to inform the rewrite of said story. The protagonist is an employee at an ad agency who publishes under a pseudonym. The story follows her through publishing a couple of books, falling in love with some real characters, and eventually reaching that HEA ending we all look for in romance.

Now that I'm done blathering on about what I'm working on, I want to know what inspires you to write, what informs your projects, and anything else that may come to your mind along these lines. Chat away!


  1. My completed MS was inspired by my fifteen-year-old daughter. She was always complaining about not having enough exciting stuff to read, so I decided I'd give her something good to read. She loved it. Now if I could just get the rest of the world to agree with her!

  2. Well, I'm sure that someone somewhere someday soon will get just as enthused about your novel. I can't wait for it to hit shelves! That's great that you wrote it with your specific audience from the get-go.

  3. I was inspired to write my first MS after critiquing my sons writing. He told me to get off my butt and write my own book. So I guess in that case, I was more motivated by the challenge than by actual inspiration. I draw inspiration from everything, the world, and people around me. All things, from the profound to the mundane, can branch off on so many tangents, so many possibilities to explore, and so many questions to answer. Inspiration often comes from a book I’m reading, a sentence, or a single word. Good topic! I enjoyed thinking about this while I gardened this morning. So today, you have been a source of inspiration for my writing. The great thing about inspiration is that it isn’t something you have to look for; it comes to you.

  4. Getting inspired by artwork is new to me. I have not had that happen to me at all – interesting.

    I have a chick lit novel in the works that was inspired by a dream. The snippet of the dream that I used only lasted about fifteen seconds. From there it blossomed into a full length story.

    Another short story (which ended up being sold to Shadowfire Press – to my amazement) came from a idea I had of a woman running through the forest trying to escape two large beasts, jumping off a cliff, only to be grabbed midair by a hungry vampire. That's it - about ten seconds of action flashing into my head turned into a 5000 + word short story.

    Music completely inspires me. Songs such as: Black Hole Sun by Sound Garden, Shine on You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd, and Breath by Breaking Benjamin have all inspired stories. I haven’t written any of them but….

  5. It's so fun to hear what sorts of things inspire you. It really inspires me to try to see the world differently, which can then turn to improving my writing and making things that I write more real and less cliche.

    @ Strange Fiction, I'm so glad you got some sort of something out of my very long and rambling post.

    @ Jenna, it's so great that you can remember your dreams enough, even snippets, to turn them into stories. I never remember anything when I wake up other than sensing I had a really strange dream.


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