I made a friend on Goodreads not too long ago, and she had a wonderful idea for a blog post. Sharon Casley is soon to be a first-time author. Be sure to keep an eye out for The Thin Blue Line, coming out soon.
Here it is:
I once read a quote that writing was 70% inspiration and 30% perspiration! Where they get that from I have no idea, I don’t remember ever breaking into a sweat in creativity mode!
So where do we writers find our inspiration?
I for one get a great many of my ideas in my sleep! Do I dream in colour? It would appear so, and sometimes these dreams are so vivid I wake up screaming! Some of them are outrageously ridiculous going from the sublime to the extreme.
I remember one dream where I was with an ex boyfriend from my teenage years on an exercise bike, please don’t ask what we were up to, you’ll just have to use your imagination on that one. Okay wipe the smile of your face, lets just say it’s a good job the bike was stationary or we could have done ourselves an injury. The funniest thing was I was never intimate with this guy; I was only 13 when we were dating and he was 18! My older man phase, he was a hunk though! He laughed when I told him about the dream which took place some 15 years after we dated; he said maybe if I had been older it would have been me he married, a shotgun wedding as it happened. I shook my head and told him I would never have been that stupid, with me he would have waited, no is no. He said he wished he had stayed with me because he was now stuck in a loveless marriage and he asked if there was any chance we could maybe get together and test drive the bike! My answer after an awful lot of soul searching was still no.
So far I haven’t used this episode in a book but one day I might bring out the notes I made at the time. Notes you say, how, why? The how is easy; I always have a pen and paper with me, even on my night table, together with the usual girlie stuff of lotions and potions, my bottle of sparkling mineral water and so on.
Why easy? Because people do and say the strangest things, and I have an amazing memory for detail, but I don’t want to miss a single quote, hence the paper and pen.
The novel I have almost finished writing was the product of a contest between myself and a writer/illustrator friend, we both started with the same phrase: ‘Who was it that said old biker’s never die, they just smell that way?’ Some 74,000 words later I am on the home stretch and have already run it by a small, but well known publishers in Cambridge, England: Elliot Mackenzie under their Pegasus label and they have requested the completed manuscript. And my friend I hear you ask, she struggled for a few days and then shoved it in the drawer and got on with designing the cover for my book!
Books and ideas are forming an orderly queue inside my head as I type and as each idea pops in I write down a brief synopsis before it pops out again and I return to mundane things, like washing and cooking.
Newspapers are another source, and I have an idea forming from a story that surfaced here in France in April this year. An entire family in Nantes disappeared without a trace, until they dug up the patio that is and found five bodies buried in hessian sacks filled with quick lime, and an obscure leg not belonging to any of the family members and the family’s two dogs. They had been assassinated the mother and her four children and the dogs, the husband had disappeared last seen in the Var where he stupidly used his bank card in a cash dispenser. Today they have released details of a letter received by his sister in early April stating that they had moved to the USA in emergency conditions and were no longer French citizens, but are unsure of it’s authenticity!
He left behind a legacy of lies; they now have Interpol and probably the FBI looking for the husband and father of four, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes, who assassinated his entire family in their sleep.
A chilling story, maybe it isn’t the first time he has killed, and to look at him you wouldn’t suspect him of hurting a fly!
They still have no idea who the leg belongs too! Or if they do they aren’t saying.
People watching is one of the funniest ways of collecting ideas, because people do and say the strangest things, from the bizarre to the extreme. I once watched a very large lady hitting her poor husband who was about half her size; she was giving him hell and all because he had forgotten the shopping list!
I felt so sorry for him, but I didn’t intervene, she was bigger than me and I am a pacifist, and like the hippies of the sixties/seventies I prefer peace and love.
I hope you enjoyed looking inside my world and remember writing should be fun not a chore, and inspiration can, and invariably does, hit you when you are least expecting it.
So be like the motto of the scouts ‘Be prepared’, and the next time you see a woman at your Gym on an exercise bike perspiring somewhat, with a silly grin on her face you’ll know she has read Anna’s Blog too!
So tell Sharon and me, where does your inspiration come from?