Where do we start?
You heard me right. We begin with the creative spark that sets everything in motion. Every story ever written starts with an idea. If you ask any author what is the number one question he or she is asked, it’s this: “where do you get your inspiration?” Or some variety of that same question.
Inspiration is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something” (in this case to be creative). It is also defined as “the drawing in of breath; inhalation”.
“But Florence,” you implore, grabbing your notebook and shaking it in the air. “I don’t get it. How do I become inspired? Where can I find inspiration? How does inspiration become a novel?”
Okay, first, put the notebook down. Second, calm down.
Wheeew…Great! Crisis averted. You could have really done some damage.
I have three simple rules for you.
Rule #1: Inspiration is Inhalation
I already told you: Inspiration is Inhalation. This is quite important because inspiration is then the action by which you draw creativity from your surroundings.
Example? As I am typing this, I am watching K-CON 2013. A singer is singing. Fans are screaming. Huge helium balloons are floating everywhere.
Ideas from this: The Singing Boy with the Guitar; The Falling Hot Air Balloon; The Hysterical Teenager.
Rule #2: Everything, Everyone and Everywhere has a Story
See those are just ideas. But are you not inspired to find out more? Ask yourself: what connects these three? What does the singing boy have to do with the falling balloon and the hysterical teenager?
“Okay,” you say dejectedly, “I’ll write a story about a singer and a screaming fan.”
Hold that thought…this brings me to numero tres.
Rule #3: Write what you want to read.
Another important rule of writing is to write what you want to read. The idea being that if you want to read it, you are more likely going to have fun writing it. You will not believe how much a writer’s mood affects his or her work. Believe me: it shows!
Say, I'm in the mood for a little suspense. Light bulb goes off for a mystery novel. What if the balloon is filled with a certain poisonous material which, at any second, will burst and coat the audience with a toxic substance thereby effectively ending their life? The girl is screaming, not because she’s a fan, but as a warning. Which brings to mind several questions: Who is this girl? How did she know? Why is a hot air balloon set to kill thousands of innocent, if rather loud, concert goers? More importantly: Is this a quick summary of Florence’s next book?
Ditto for Romance (and the other genres). What if the singer parachuted unto the stage from a hot air balloon? Unfortunately, as he lands on the stage, the balloon lands on the innocent girl picnicking nearby, crushing her under its multicolored, promotional plastic membrane, rendering said girl unconscious. To save his image, his manager and PR firm convinces him to visit her at the hospital and help in her rehabilitation. What happens next? Maybe they fall in love; maybe he falls in love with her sister, cousin, aunt, (insert relative here) and leaves his life of debauchery and sin behind; maybe not.
Do you see what I did? I have taken one single inspiration, turned it into an idea and built on it.
So, next time you are short of inspiration and have no idea what to do next, just take a look around. There might be nothing new under the sun but no one said you can’t do it better.