Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lassoing the Muse

~~Lassoing Inspiration~~
Hello, I’m Sara Walter Ellwood, and I’m a new blogger here on Nocturnal Nights. Thanks Tabby for inviting me to join your wonderful group of contributors.

As I tried to "lasso" a topic to write about today, I thought about the usual things that inspire or people who have inspired me. And there it was—I’ll talk about the things that inspire me. People can be another blog topic for another day...*g*

For me inspiration can come from just about anywhere—a song, a phrase in another book, a concept, an analogy or even from something someone has said.
Some examples from my own books shows just how oddly a writers mind works—well at least this is how my mind works.

A line in Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse inspired my first novel, A Hunter’s Angel, a vampire romance of which I’ve given up pursuing publication. I don’t remember the exact line, but it was in the scene where Edward is reading the paper and tells Bella that a lot of the news is caused by “their kind.” That got me to thinking, and by the time I’d finished the book, I had a plot idea about an FBI special agent who just happens to be a vampire who is also a vampire/werewolf hunter. He’s a good vamp in my world where there are both good (protectors of humans) and bad (killers).

The Rascal Flatts song, “God Blessed the Broken Road”, inspired my second book, The Long Road Home, which is the book that scored my agent for me. The song is about someone who finds his/her way to love, but acknowledges that if it hadn’t been for all the trouble in his/her life, he/se wouldn’t have found that love. The ensuing story is about a country singer who comes home to find his best friend dead and the woman he loves a widow, but as with all good stories—things are never simple.

The idea for my third book came from watching butterflies in my garden one day last summer. I got to thinking about the life cycle of butterflies, and about how they start out as ugly and disgusting things (virtually a worm) and end up being one of the most beautiful and most loved creatures in the world. Well, it wasn’t long until I had two characters with the ugliest pasts I could come up with finding love and a beautiful future together—they both became a Butterfly.

But what amazed me was that my cast of secondary characters and the history of my fictional Texas town would inspire an entire series—five books in all. And each one of them finding their inspiration from either events or songs or even a word. The second book of the series, which I’m currently writing, comes from the idea of how someone wanting revenge can cause a betrayal that is hard to forgive. But all of this heartache could have been avoided if The Hardest Words to Say had been spoken—I love you.

However, inspiration, that nugget of idea that comes to us at, sometimes the oddest of times, is never easy to pinpoint and is a constant need—like food, water and air. We can't survive without these things and writers can't survive without inspiration. However the story idea is only the tiny beginning. Where will the characters names come from? What will their personalities be like? What will they look like? How will the characters meet? What will bring them together and what will keep them apart? Where do the ideas for the actual scenes, the dialogue and characters come from? EVERYWHERE! Just take a look around.

So, the next time you become stuck, as I was when I started thinking about this blog article, thinks about the things that normally inspire you...Then go listen to that music or watch that movie or go to the mall and do a little people watching. You may be surprised by the strangest things that give you and idea to write about.


Brenda said...

Oh wow! Fantastic post! I totally enjoyed it. It's funny how inspiration at the time doesn't feel like inspiration, lol.

Tabitha Blake said...

You are so welcome. I am excited to have you on NN. It is funny how I notice things now. I didn't use to really and truly watch people around me but now I notice everything. The slightest thing will spark an idea. As writers we need to be very observant. Taking in everything around us and use it in our writing. Great blog!

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing! Very interesting read and full of ideas.