“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King,
I’ve was recently asked, “How do you come up with your stories?” This was from someone I had just met and had never read any of my writing. How does one describe what they write or their writing process for someone who has never read anything of theirs? I felt a bit flabbergasted, if I am being perfectly honest. I stumbled my way through an answer about how the inspiration comes and sometimes I sit and think for a while, but ultimately the answer was a perfunctory I don’t know.
For one reason or another, that bothered me. I am sure if it is because I came across as a bumbling idiot which ended with my business card on the floor (yes, I found it on the floor later that evening) or if I really wanted to know the answer myself. Today, I wasn’t sure what to write about. I asked a friend, “What do you want to read about on my blog?”
You can imagine the question he asked, How do you come up with your stories? So, here is my second opportunity to discuss how I decide what to write about. When it comes to my blog, I read other blogs and see what others are doing. I try to add my own twist or find something similar to write about. Sometimes, I get the inspiration to talk about inane things and I end up rambling for the hour or so it takes to write a post.
My writing is entirely different. I have different inspirations for where my stories come from. Below, I have listed my inspirations:
- Other Novels – Sometimes when I am reading a novel I see something I like. It can be a Character, a Setting, a Plot Device, sometimes it is just a word. I start thinking: how can I incorporate something like this that will make my readers feel like I am right now? I start to look for ways to create a similar feeling.
- Music – I love music of all kinds. I try to find new artists and instrumental pieces because I just itch to write something that fits with the music I am listening to. I recently watched Estas Tonne on Youtube and listened to the Song of the Golden Dragon. This gave me an idea for a bard in a medieval tavern. In my search, I also found Daniel Waples and his playing of the hang drum, the music takes me to a primal place that my imagination takes hold of.
- Pictures – If I look at an image long enough I start to wonder: what events led to this image? or: what events follow this image? I’ve recently begun to look at an image and try to describe it, as if to someone without sight. I find this is improving my ability to be descriptive, but also, it stretches my imagination. New ideas come from other artists works.
- Conversations – Every talk I have with someone teaches me something, even if it is how much I dislike talking to that person. These conversations create personas in my mind. I can take little things like facial expressions or word choice to build the idea or basis of a character. Once I have a basis I start asking myself: how did they get this way? The end result is almost never the same as the conversation that inspired it, but it is a start.
- IDEAS! – So I don’t have any Kaja Cola to give me bright ideas, but for some reason, I just have a creative mind. I’ll be sitting down and look at my keyboard and think: what if this was a hologram? What if I could just touch it and it would do what I wanted? The seemingly mundane can generate, for me, ideas beyond my reality. I love to ask: Why? and What if?
I am sure there are other factors that help me to come up with ideas for my stories, but either they are subconscious or I haven’t given them thought. I have learned a great deal over the years, reading and writing stories. Ultimately, it is not some divine inspiration that gives me the ability to write stories, but rather a great deal of hard work and searching. I rarely have a story fall into my lap without my having to search for an idea. I use the above steps to find ideas, but they are almost always inspired by something I’ve asked or wondered.
Being a fiction author is about answering the why in any way I can imagine is possible. Once I’ve answered the why, I start on the how, followed by when, who, what, and where? There is no magic formula, but this works for me. Speaking of stories and inspiration, I have a couple of short stories to finish and a second novel’s launch to prepare for. Check out djmorandauthor.com/mailinglist for more information about my upcoming projects and available stories and books. Until next time folks.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,