Monday, January 20, 2014

The Strange Incident of Inspiration

freedigitalphotos.com 
It’s true, and we all know it.
Some fiction writers are good. Very, very good.
Some fiction writers are bad – painfully so.
But almost ALL fiction writers are strange.
We HAVE to be. It comes along with the territory of living in an imaginary world. We have one foot in reality (or maybe only a big toe), and the other foot somewhere else. Where? Well that all depends on the writer.
I've been a dozen places in one hour and never left my seat.
Do any of you get distracted by a beautiful scene, or scent, or maybe a quirky person sitting on the front row of a presentation, hat askew, and murmuring to herself?
I’m a photo buff. LOVE TO TAKE pictures. But lots of times I take them because they start creating story-pieces in my head. (some I take of my cute family ;-) Photos can be an open door to a story.
How many of you talk to yourselves? Or even MORE interesting, talk to you characters?
Anyone else get lost in a song because, when you hear it, your book plays like a movie in your head?
Or can you spend years in a bookstore because you’re determined that some, overlooked treasure is hidden somewhere on the shelves – and most likely it will lead to the best historical climax in your novel.
Anyone else replay scenes of movies over and over again for research?
Or flip through websites looking for unusual facts like – what are some prints for feed-sack dresses? The type of shoes worn in 1914? How to cook chicken over an open fire? Or what about the existence of 12th century subterranean passageways? The flowers in bloom in Derbyshire in spring. What the Separatists ate on the Mayflower?
Seriously – the list goes on. And gets weirder.
Just ask Amy Simpson, who does crazy (and somewhat frightening) research about murder weapons and body decomposition.
Or Angie Dicken who is recreating history in Elizabethan England.
It’s fascinating. Mesmerizing.
So- are you strange?
It’s okay to admit it. It’s the first step to acceptance. :-)
Got any cool examples of what you do, find, or use to inspire your writing creativity?

19 comments:

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Me? Strange? I think not. But you might ask my alter-ego about that, because she is definitely weird. She only comes out when the spark of imagination flies around in my head.

Snort.

Yep, Pep, writer's are a weird breed. AND I LOVE THEM!!!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Yes, we're strange for sure. Maybe that's why/how all 10 of us get along so well...our shared strangenesses :)

Google probably fuels my strange research addiction more than anything else. I do love knowing all the little details in general. Probably why a college library was such a good job fit for me.

Angela Verges said...

Count me in as having "strange" tendencies. I have pulled to the side of the road on a cold winters day to take a photo of the beauty of ice formed on bare tree branches.
There are other things too, but I'll stop there (-:

Jeanne T said...

Yes, I'm in the strange category. For sure. I love watching movies over and over and identifying story elements that worked for me. :) My poor hubby.

I LOVE taking pics, and some of them give me glimpses of a scene I'd love to write.

I'm not talking to my characters a whole lot right now, because I'm waiting for one particular character to talk to me. But, I've had characters carry on full scale arguments in my head. . . during church. :)

Angie said...

The stranger the better, right Pepper? Sometimes I wish I had a switch and could turn off my brain for a moment and focus on the simplicity of a day at home in the twenty first century.
But then, where's the fun in that?
Love ya!

Pepper said...

The stranger, the better.
You know - the safe kind of strange ;-)

Sherrinda
Lying on a blog sets a bad precedent, friend ;-)

Pepper said...

We do get along really well, don't we Jules!

And Google IS a great inspiration corner. It can also be incredibly distraction ;-)

Pepper said...

Angela,
I'm TOTALLY with you!!! Good grief, I've taken pictures of the craziest things. If you place me in an antique store I go crazy with pics of old timey stuff.
And scenery?? Definitely worth a photo op ;-)

Pepper said...

Jeanne!
LOL - in church? THat's hilarious!! I've had the full-scale arguments - so much fun! And a bit unnerving at times, but amazing how our brains work.

My best friend, Jessica, thinks my brain should be studied because of all the weird things I tell her about an author's brain. :-)

And I'm with you on the rewatch of movies idea. That's me and my hubby too. If he's seen it once, he's finished. I do the same thing with songs :-)

Pepper said...

Oh Ang,
What would it be like to turn off our brains? whoa...kind of scary to think about what ELSE we'd get accomplished.

Debra E. Marvin said...

I'll say that one of the more difficult parts is turning off the writer brain when the 21stC calls.
I often write at home in the morning and then grudgingly stop to go to work. Some days my brain is fighting to stay in another century. In the middle of writing non-fiction and doing research, I have to scribble down some flash of inspiration for my story. And I do love the research that goes with the much needed details of setting, no matter which century.

Angie said...

Pep, you are right...the safe kind of strange...I am thinking of a certain suggestion for a sci fi book I recently gave you! HAHA! Break out or Break away???;)

Mary Vee said...

There was the time hubby and I drove through the mountains. He suddenly jerked the car to the side of the road, put the car in park, and grabbed his camera. The perfect photo about to be taken. I stepped out of the car and looked at what he didn't see. I focused my camera and voila. My photo won the right to be hung in our living room.
The grand is not always the most treasured. Sometimes the simple caught in a moment of uniqueness upstages the seemingly great.
Writers just have a different eye.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh haha!!! I am definitely my own brand of strange. (And as I'm sure my internet research has flagged the authorities from time to time I'm hoping they see me as a safe kind of strange--not a twisted lunatic who researches explosives, how bodies burn, and certain broken protocols within the FBI) I'm sure they love me! :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I will say that I've never argued with my characters... Internally or otherwise. I love you bunch of weirdos ;) and I love the eclectic nature of our writer minds! If my character gets out of line I just maybe torture them a bit... For funsies... Just before I get to be the one to make all their dreams come true. So fun getting to be creator. I wonder if it is even a smidgen of the joy God felt when he works. :) great post, Pep!

Anonymous said...

This post is SO real for me! I always thought I might just have a mental issue but now I see I just have a writers mind! Seriously though, some days its so bad! I can sit in a boring lecture at college and I realize after 20 minutes has gone by that I have not even heard a single thing my instructor said! I was too distracted with my characters in my head! They talk whether or not I can listen, which can be a huge distraction! Although it does have its good sides because when most people are inpatient standing in a line at a grocery store, I find myself quite content to just daydream about my characters; their lives are so much more interesting than mine is! Sometimes anyway. :) And I am almost scared to admit but I act out my scenes most of the time! I just hope no one ever sees me and thinks I've lost my mind!

I can honestly say most of my inspiration comes from the Bible. It is without a doubt the most inspiring book ever written! Thanks for the great post, Pepper!

~Rosie

Pepper said...

Rosie,
Now I have all new respect for those college students who look completely dazed during my lectures ;-)
And here I thought they were just bored. Maybe all this time they were visiting with their imaginary friends :-)

The Bible IS great inspiration for writers. I've gotten so many amazing ideas from it for my fantasy novel - especially from books like Isaiah and Psalms.

Thanks for visiting!!

Pepper said...

Debra,
I think we should probably come up with some sort of term. Century-swapping-disorder

Historical-Writer-Delusion....
There has to be a term :-)

Casey said...

Weird? Who says we're weird?

Speak for yourself. ;-))

Just kidding. But seriously a good post to look around, look up and see what kind of story ideas are right in front of you! I think movie/tv show watching is great for this, because you start noticing people around you (at least it's helped me)and start forming a story about them. :)