I’ve completed, and read, a fair amount of interviews since becoming an author and book blogger. There are a lot of questions that seem to pop up time after time. The one I’ve usually struggled with answering is “Where do you get your inspiration from?” (or words to that effect).
The simple answer = everywhere.
I once watched an interview with Take That not long after they first came out (bear with me, it totally makes sense) and the interviewer asked Gary Barlow where he got inspiration for songs from. He went on to say the best place was the newspaper. He’d flick through, looking at headlines, and when one caught his eye, he would go on and read the article and “see what happens”.
I’ve never been inspired by a newspaper article, but that answer always stuck with me, and since then I’ve read the newspaper and watched the news. You never know, right?
I’m a naturally visual person. When I was at school, I had to physically read texts and make notes before stuff would sink in. I’m the same with my writing. I can’t just open up a fresh word doc and start typing away, I have to work things through by hand. Even if I only start then continue on the computer. If I get stuck, I print off what I have and scribble all over it before going back to the computer and working my way through my notes. So, because of this way of thinking, photographs are extremely inspirational to me.
In an English class at uni, the tutor gave us photocopies of pictures drawn by a man called Harris Burdick and we had to, individually, pick one that drew our attention and write something about it. It could have been a story, a poem, a newspaper article. Anything. We could be as literal or as abstract as we wished, the only limitation was that we had fifteen minutes. I, of course, wrote a short story. It was only about 3 paragraphs, but I had to finish it when I got home. Eventually, I posted it online and it got favourable reviews. (I have recently moved it to my Wattpad account).
It’s fun to look at pictures and think of a story to go with it, I’ve done it more since Mr Linden’s Library (The photo above), a couple are included in Honour and are among some of my favourites.
Music, while not visual, is another thing that inspires me. I was introduced to a great UK based band by a friend, and when I heard the below song, I started writing a story – in fact, I have to finish it one day and publish it or posted online, depending on length.
Other authors I have spoken to have spawned entire plot lines in their head after overhearing a snippet of a conversation when they’re waiting to pic up the kids, or watching people in the park.
This just goes to show that the smallest thing can spark an idea. You don’t have to actively go looking, but it’s a good idea to be constantly observant. I love people watching, and many of my characters have come from me being a bit nosy. I may not have a story for them at the time, but they get stored away in a notebook, just waiting for the perfect time to come out and play.
So, like I said. The simple answer is everywhere, but for different people, everywhere means a slightly different medium, but the end results can be amazing!