Guest Blog by Intern Jenny: Inspiration

March 19th, 2010 • Kate

inspirationI’ve always been more of a reader than a writer. Just about everything I’ve ever written has been for school and nothing has ever managed to inspire me to write for pleasure … until recently.

A few months ago my music aficionado husband made a mixed CD for me and every time I listen to it stories pop into my head without me even trying. Whether or not I am able to do anything with these stories is yet to be determined, but I must admit that it is a strange and satisfying phenomenon.

I remember reading an interview with Stephanie Meyer about how the inspiration for the Twilight series came to her in a dream and Kate and I recently discussed the fact that she was inspired to write a book while taking a class in college. The variety of forms inspiration can take are fascinating.

So what inspires you to write? Is it music, a dream, an interesting historical figure? And after you find your inspiration how do you create an entire novel out of it?

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13 Responses to “Guest Blog by Intern Jenny: Inspiration”

  1. Carrie Harris Says:

    I get inspiration everywhere, but mostly from tabletop talk during game nights at my house. My friends are insane, and every time they say something wacky, I think, "Oh, there's a story there. BLEEP yeah."

    Of course, then the key is to layer all those ideas into a cohesive story, but that's, well, a different story. πŸ™‚

  2. Karen A. Hooper Says:

    Well now you have to tell us what songs are on the CD.

    Music inspires me too. Moby and Blue October put some serious emotion into my first novel.

    However, the MS I just finished was inspired by worms. LOTS of worms on a neighbor's sidewalk. I know, weird. But those worms evolved into a 89k novel about mermaids and other sea creatures. My brain is a hay-wired kaleidoscope of ever-changing ideas. πŸ˜‰

  3. Christy Valentine Says:

    I often draw inspiration by people watching. I'll see a person and think, "Now that's a great character." One time, I saw a guy whose loafers were obviously way too big for him–so big they were creased near the toes, almost like clown shoes. I found it rather creepy, so he became my serial killer in a short story for college. πŸ˜‰

  4. Suze W Says:

    I was taking photos of a beautiful ancient temple in Greece, watching school-trip kids run around and flirt and wander perilously close to the un-fenced in cliff, and a story – that turned into a 65k YA – started unfolding in my head. Sometimes it's just a place, song or snippit of conversation makes you wonder "what if…".

  5. Chantal Kirkland Says:

    I find inspiration in just about everything–music, people watching (like specifically the weird hooker-looking lady that just walked into the coffee shop) and other odd things…like this hooker–she kinda looks like my kid's play therapist…is that her? Does she just wear the professional clothing for work? Is this what she wears on her leisure days? Sorry, I need to go tweet this ridiculousness RIGHT NOW.

  6. Lysh Says:

    I get the most inspired in the shower. But if I can't do that, I'll listen to some music that fits the mood in my story, or read a book, or pop in one of my Lost DVDs. And honestly sometimes taking a break and playing The Sims…I find being able to control their lives and build their world kind of similar to creating stories. My brain works in weird ways.

  7. Adrienne Says:

    I agree with Chantal, inspiration is everywhere for me too. Be it hiking in the woods, listening to music or even gazing out of the car window!

    My day dreams are a ridiculous source of inspiration, there are times I feel my mother was given too much percacet (spelling?!) during her pregnancy, I'm not sure how these day dreams come about, I have to blame someone!

  8. Suzanne Casamento Says:

    My novel ideas usually stem out of some real life experience. It could be setting or a chararcter or actual events.

    Then if I'm lucky enough, the characters fill in the holes for me. If not, I do a ton of walking. My brain plots best when I'm in motion.

  9. Kiki Hamilton Says:

    My inspiration usually starts with an idea that intrigues me. Then I find the characters and listen while they tell me their story. Basically, I'm a note taker and I'm just as surprised by what happens as the reader.

  10. Kimber An Says:


    It all begins with the question "What if?"

    My last one, in fact, dumped on me like a ton of bricks overnight. I woke up and the whole thing was there. It was such a big story that the first scene which set the whole thing off never made it into the book which I wrote down because it happens somewhere in the middle of the whole she-bang.

    My personal theory is my subconscious mind works on these things behind my back and sometimes doesn't bother to tell me until it's time to get crackin'.

    But, it always begins with 'What if?'

    "What if a girl-geek fell in love with a boy who still believed in the boogieman?"

  11. Mandy Says:

    Generally I think of a character first. I'm not always sure what inspires the characters. Sometimes, like Kimber An, its a "what if". Sometimes, like Suzanne C., it comes out of life experience. Often its a mix of both, generally someone I know will do something and I think "what if they had done the opposite?"

    I then create worlds around my characters. As a SF/F writer, I mean that literally. lol.

  12. Krista V. (the forme Says:

    I'm with Kimber An – my concepts almost always grow out of what-ifs.

  13. Shannon Says:

    I have a wild imagination. Sometimes parts of dreams will spark an idea. But, most of the time, it’s when I walk at the lake near our house.

    Once there was a single buck standing at the top of the hill. I tried to make one of my characters like him – a loner, but within a group, majestic, thinking.