What Inspires You?

3 08 2009
Sometimes the best view is from high above

Sometimes the best view is from high above

As I wind down the current novel I’m working on—Moonlight Madness, a time travel set in 17th century England—I’m hunting for my next project and looking for inspiration. Which brings me to the question for our blog theme this month: what inspires you?

I made a list of the most common places writers find inspiration (in no particular order):

  1. writing groups: RWA, local chapters, critique groups
  2. reading
  3. browsing bookstore/library shelves
  4. travel, road trips
  5. new experiences (jobs, careers)
  6. observation/people-watching
  7. the news
  8. music
  9. poetry/quotes
  10. celebrities
  11. movies/tv
  12. antique stores/flea markets
  13. museums
  14. parks/gardens/nature
  15. family/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend

In writing a 90,000-100,000, I’ve found all of the above can be useful sources of inspiration!

My favorite kick-in-the-writer’s butt—Travel

This week I’m relaxing on one of my favorite beaches. My family has vacationed in South Carolina almost every year since the early 80’s and it never fails to plant the seeds of a new story in my mind.

The history of Low Country attracts me to this area in the strongest way. First, it’s in my blood. My father’s Welsh/Scot/Irish family settled in South Carolina in the early 1700’s. Second, this is the same area where pirates once roamed, where the Civil War was fought, and it’s the setting for a plethora of great literature including the eerie true story, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Poe’s The Gold Bug.

After I meditate beneath one of the ancient Spanish Moss-covered oaks or on the balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, I’ll be blessed with another story to take back home with me. Travel definitely inspires my writing—the settings in particular. I can almost hear the characters’ voices in my head as I listen to the waves on the shore.

Finding island history inside a lighthouse

Finding island history inside a lighthouse

Is there anyplace that makes you want to write? Do you feature places you’ve visited in your stories? If so, where?

This month I’m giving away a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card along with some books from my shelf “to inspire you.” Comment on one post this August and you’ll be entered to win in a drawing to be held at the end of the month. Good luck and be inspired!

Advertisements

Actions

Information

28 responses

3 08 2009
Mary Ricksen

I agree they can all be inspirational. I find the shores of Lake Champlain, where I grew up inspiring. So you just never know.

4 08 2009
sandrajones

That’s one place I’d like to visit, too, Mary. Lake Champ is home to the mysterious monster–which might make for a great paranormal! LOL

There are a few good lakes near my home, and I find them terrific for quiet reflection and brainstorming time. Thanks for commenting!

4 08 2009
Debra St. John

Music definitely inspires me. That’s the big one over-all. When I listen to music, especially country, the ideas just begin to flow. I also find inspiration in the places I go. My books usually have some element of realism in their settings. They are usually set, sometimes loosely, sometimes completely, in places I’ve been.

Hope you enjoyed the beach. One of teh best parts of summer!

5 08 2009
sandrajones

Debra, I like the idea of using country music as inspiration. Some of the lyrics have a wonderful storytelling quality to them on their own. I’m fond of folk music from other countries–particularly Celtic. They help me visualize my settings. Thanks and best wishes!

Sandra

5 08 2009
Judy Cox

I find any place that I can find peace and quiet for an hour or so will revive me and let me go on with what has to be done!!

5 08 2009
Sandra Jones

Absolutely, Judy! It’s great to get away from distractions. Just a few minutes alone with my thoughts and I’m off and running with a scene.

Thanks for commenting.

5 08 2009
ALee Drake

People inspire me. Let’s face it…the world is full of characters.
Travel gets me writing too. My current WIP takes place on the road, while THISTLE DEW , my current novel takes place in a quiet bed and breakfast in the Adirondacks.
Just give me a sharp pencil and new pad of paper and watch out!

5 08 2009
sandrajones

Sounds like a good place for a setting, Alee. When I wrote Wish for the Moon, I was grabbing napkins and writing down scenes at the bookstore where I worked. LOL

Sandra

5 08 2009
Skhye

Honestly, the last thing that inspired my writing was a character in a movie. I’ve built up an entire paranormal series around him…. 🙂

5 08 2009
sandrajones

Me too! I can’t keep Ewan McGregor out of my head as I write Moonlight Madness! Best of luck!

Sandra

5 08 2009
Mary Ricksen

I just happened to come back today by mistake. You know the picture on the top reminds me of the Empire State Building Experience I had. My sister in law worked there years ago and she took us to the very top, the next step took a ladder. Anyways there were glass windows all around. It was unbelievable to see the clouds below me and the lights of NYC at nite all around me. I may use that in my next book! Thanks for bringing that moment back to me.

5 08 2009
sandrajones

LOL, Mary! You reminded me of Sleepless in Seattle just now! Love that movie! I watch it every time it’s on. I’m glad I may have helped spark something new for you!

Sandra

5 08 2009
Susan Macatee

Every and anyplace can give me inspiration, but it’s reading a great romance that gives me the kick in the pants to get to work on my own story.

5 08 2009
sandrajones

Thanks for commenting, Susan! I began my September release, Wish for the Moon, after reading a few great time-travels by some of my favorite authors. I’m sure I was inspired by them. I remember how much I liked Johanna Lindsey and Susan Carroll’s alpha heroes, and loosely based my knight-errant on them.

Sandra

5 08 2009
lorettaC

Enjoy your vacation. My family went to there one year and had a ball.

lorettaC,

5 08 2009
Sandra Jones

It’s my favorite vacation place in the U.S. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

Sandra

5 08 2009
Margaret Tanner

Nice article,
Loved the beach scene. I find any place that is peaceful and quiet very indusive to writing.
Regards
Margaret

5 08 2009
sandrajones

Thanks, Margaret! I have a few good hiding places at home, too!

Sandra

5 08 2009
Wendy

I think originally when I started writing ages ago, I wanted to write of Faerie – of the most hauntingly beautiful aspects. Now I still like to write fantasy but about those aspects that can change lives and increase awareness – that’s what inspires me.

7 08 2009
sandrajones

I’ve always been fond of fantasy, too. One of my favorite authors writes about faeries.

Thanks for commenting,
Sandra

6 08 2009
Kimmy Lane

Music. I listen to a variety of music depending on my mood. Have fun on your trip.

7 08 2009
sandrajones

Thank you, Kimmy. I’ve had a blast, and have so much to write about when I get back.

Sandra

6 08 2009
Christine Columbus

I too find my inspiration in nature… warm summer nights out on my patio with my laptop and a glass of wine.

When the wind rustles the trees and the crickets chirp… I am inspired…
Downside is living in Mn – my inspiration is seasonal… and only last for half a year…

Come fall not only do I plug in my laptop – but also an electric blanket – when I go out in the evening…

7 08 2009
sandrajones

LOL on the electric blanket! Snuggling into that warmth makes me think of romantic nights by fireside. So either summer or winter, I can see plenty to inspire where you are. Thanks!

Sandra

7 08 2009
Karen Michelle Nutt

Vacations definitely start the imagination rolling. I’ve also found inspiration from one location in particular and find myself going back to visit. It’s the old ship, the Queen Mary (docked in Long Beach, Ca) There is just something about the place that speaks to me.

11 08 2009
Sandra

Karen, I had to Google Queen Mary when I read your post and now I see what you mean. I’ve never seen the ship in person, but I’ll bet it’s great. Maritime history tours are some of my favorites. Sometimes you can almost feel the history in a place like that. Thanks for your comment.

Sandra

22 08 2009
Abigail Maupin

Long ago, I worked as a tour guide at the Astor’s mansion in Newport, RI; the hook was that it was supposed to be 1891, so the tour guides all played various servants and family members. But the best part was that we also lived in the house, up on the third floor in the old servants’ quarters. That experience, as well as the beautiful town of Newport and its history, is always an inspiration for me—a terrific jumping-off place for my imagination…

23 08 2009
sandrajones

Oh, that sounds like fun, Abigail! I’d get a kick out of working in a place like that. It’s just that kind of place that makes me wonder what it would be like if I fell back in time–which was the basis for Wish for the Moon. My heroine, an American with epilepsy, falls back in time to Medieval Wales. Back to when the crumbling castles of the present were still new and filled with knights in armor.

Thanks for your post. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: