Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blog Chain - Inspire Me :)

The incredible Shaun started this chain - and before we get into it, you simply MUST check out his newly released book, The Deathday Letter. I devoured this book in one day. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it was just completely AWESOME :D Go to my MUST READ BOOKS tab and take a look. Congrats Shaun!!!!

I am the last link in this chain, but be sure to swing by Shaun's to start at the beginning and don't forget to check out Laura's answer from yesterday :)

Now, for our topic, Shaun wants to know:

From where do you get your inspiration for stories? Give me the oddest, coolest, things that have inspired you.

I don't know if I've gotten a ton of ideas from cool places, but odd, yeah - if you count the inside of my head LOL But for the most part, I find inspiration everywhere. From the wicked cool cemetery next to my house, weird things I might see, funny things people say - just, well, anywhere and anything. For fiction, especially. But with fiction, it’s more about the emotions that are evoked by what I’m experiencing…the songs I hear, the things and people I see and hear.

Like several other wonderful writers in our chain, music inspires me a great deal. But usually not a whole book idea. I pick up on the general mood of a song and scenes pop into my head; it’s kind of like watching a movie with that song as the background music. And it’s never happy music or scenes. It’s usually music from groups like Evanescence, Apocalyptica, and Rob Dougan. I absolutely LOVE the music from these groups, but it usually isn’t happy-go-lucky stuff. I have gotten some really good, heart wrenching death/separation/despair type scenes from some of these songs.

And of course, the Romeo and Juliet type of love, the all consuming, burning, make-your-heart-jump-into- your-throat-every-time-you-see-him type love is just pumped into every note of some of these songs, and when I hear them, I can’t help but write about characters who feel the way the song feels and sounds. Listen to Apocalyptica’s Bittersweet (which has lyrics) or Romance (which does not) – or Evanescence’s My Immortal or Good Enough – or Sarah Brightman’s Deliver Me – or Rob Dougan’s Nothing at All or Furious Angels or I’m Not Driving Anymore…..these songs just stir something that I can’t shut off.

I also often use things that have happened in my own life….I have had an…interesting….past at times :) A lot of it has made it’s way into my stories. Of course, I change names, combine different people I’ve known to make one character, greatly embellish situations….but some of the more colorful parts of my own history have made it into my books. It’s therapeutic in a way, to write about my own life through other characters. I can make them do the things I wish I had done, or change things I wish I had not….I can finally requite that unrequited love :) or kill off the jerk that broke my heart. Really, some great real life situations make perfect fiction situations – it’s all in how you spin the tale:)

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.

With NF, I’m more inspired by the needs I see and the subjects I enjoy. The struggling student’s need to understand what is going on so they can pass their hated English course without pulling their hair out. The desire to share the things I love – history, poetry, reading, writing. I want to share the joy I find in these things and show people who may not be interested in these subjects that they aren’t as bad as they might seem.

For my children’s books, I get most of my inspiration from my own children and the stories I hear from other parents. Honestly, while my kids make me pull my hair out in abject frustration most days, they are completely hilarious little people. I just sit and watch them, listen to the things they say, how they play with each other, the crazy things they get into in their little make believe worlds. And when I am done cleaning up the mess, I write :) And then I test my stories out and them and if they like them, we are golden.

So how about you? Where do you find your inspiration?


Christine Fonseca said...

great post! I love that RL inspires you!

Cole Gibsen said...

I am so with you. Sometimes the right song can inspire an entire book!

Michelle H. said...

Music does work. I always have something on to listen to as I write. Nice post!

Jan Markley said...

So true! I get inspiration from those around me.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Thank you!

I read this article about a computer that was taught to compose symphonies. It was able to do this because people learned that composers really just pull from all the music around the--all the things they hear--and then rearrange them into unique compositions using their own experiences. I sort of think writers are like that. We take all the disparate pieces of the world around us and weave them into original stories filtered through our own unique ways of looking at life.

Really great way to close the chain. I loved reading all the things that inspire you all. And you all inspire me.

B.J. Anderson said...

Beautiful! I love music for inspiration as well. For one book, I listened to the same song over and over and over for weeks. I was so sick of the song after I'd finished the book that I haven't listened to it since. Great post!! :D

Sarah Bromley said...

Having your own kids really does wonders for getting the ideas flowing, doesn't it? I also agree with you that writing is a place to do all the things you wished you could have. Nice job!

Eric said...

Kids are awesome, aren't they? Even though one of mine is almost grown now, I still enjoy watching how he deals with the world around him. The little things that both of my boys do and say are fun to experience. Nice post!