Muse Wednesday — Inspiration? Where does it come from and how do you get it down on paper? by Lynn Lorenz
This Wednesday, Lynn Lorenz, who has already shared her specific inspiration with us in the past HERE, is “musing” today on the topic of inspiration in general. What inspires you to write and how do you translate that to paper? Lynn shares some of her extensive experience with y’all. Read, learn, and enjoy.
It just does.
I know that’s a wimpy answer, but for creative people it’s less of a process as it is a state of open reception.
If you remain open, like a vessel, stuff pours in. And out.
That’s what it’s like to create. An idea comes to you and you have to play with it, mold it, capture it, twist it, and then stick it back out there for everyone to see, hear or read.
I’ve always written, short stories and poetry in high school and college, but I also was/am an artist. I draw and paint in acrylics and watercolor, and have a degree in Fine Art. My inspirations for my work came from all sorts of places. My college senior art project was Porn vs Art – What’s the Difference? I took photos from Penthouse and Playboy of women in provocative poses and painted them. Once on canvas, they became lovely nudes. Nothing in the pictures changed, it was the media. I displayed the photo next to the painting – but you had to lift a cover to see where the inspiration came from. Most people were shocked when they found out it was from a porn magazine.
With writing, there’s no cover to lift, but we still get our inspiration from photos, from music, ideas, situations we see and hear about, television, our families and friends. Basically everywhere. Like I said in the beginning…way too many places to name.
But if you’re not open to what comes your way, no matter how, you’ll never catch the spark. It’s truly a creative person who can take that spark and run with it.
So you’re open, and you catch a spark of an idea. You mull it over, it develops, forms, shaped by you and your creativity into a story. Of sorts. Or characters. In a certain situation. And it starts like this…and ends like this….
But how do you wrangle it all into a story, one that has a beginning, middle and end? One that captures a reader’s interest, one that hooks them on the first line or paragraph, keeps them interested in the middle and drives them breathless to the ending.
Now that’s the hard part. One that most writers struggle with – getting it all down and making it work.
You hear writers say all the time, “I’m a plotter.” Or “I’m a pantser.” Have you wondered what are they talking about? Well, a plotter is just that, someone who plots the book out, from a simple outline, to the most convoluted sticky note/white board/ photo layout you can imagine. A pantser is someone who “flies by the seat of their pants,”
Just goes with the flow, no plot, no outline. Just sit down and write.
Both are good. Both work. But for the right person. So, wow! Guess what? This is not “one size fits all.” If it works for you, then it works. One is not better than the other. If it works for you, then it’s right.
But what if it isn’t working? What if you’re lost, with your hand on the great idea, dragging it along behind you like a favorite teddy bear? You’re not alone. You just haven’t found what works yet but you will, if you write enough. In writing, you learn about yourself, plot, pants or a mix.
We often struggle with the great idea, only to have it crash and burn in execution. That’s so frustrating. In a hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing, wanna-punch-something-right-now sort of way.
So many things go into how to get that idea down. One of them is POV – which point of view will you write the story in? (check out my blog on Amber Allure PAX coming this Friday January 25th http://amberpax.blogspot.com about writing in 1st person and/or 3rd person.)
Another is setting. Where is the story happening? In just one place, one city, on a ranch or in a BDSM club? So many choices!
Who is involved in your book? Characters? Many or a few? One couple or a ménage? Gay or straight or polyamorous? Earthlings or a race of space aliens? Contemporary, historical or alternate universe? Again, endless possibilities!
How about this – theme? Do you even know what the theme of your book is? What’s the message at its core? Is it love conquers all? Acceptance? Rescue?
What trope are you using? Tried and true, like the Billionaire’s Daughter and the Ranch Hand, or did you think about mixing it up – the Billionaire Daughter and the Space Steampunk Pirate? In my view, tropes were made for mash-ups.
The heat level? Sweet, sensual, erotic? Do we even understand what that means? At each publisher? The mind boggles!
Yeah, a lot of stuff to think about, getting in the way of that once magical spark of an idea. You’re exhausted, but still clinging to it, unwilling to let it go. “It shall be written!” you swear, shaking your fist like Scarlett at the sunset.
Didn’t think so much happened when writing a book, huh?
It does. It has to. Most of the time, for pantsers, it happens as you’re writing it. For plotters, they’re thinking about it before the first word goes down on paper. For pantsers, if they did that, they’d never write the book. For plotters, sitting down to write without it all planned out would be torture.
No matter what method you use to write, if you end up with a finish ms, you’re ahead of most writers. Most writers never finish a ms. Ever. They start, hit a wall, and stop. For all sorts of reasons.
Lack of inspiration is rarely the reason for the shut down.
Because inspiration is the one thing out there that we all have access to – if we’re open to it in all its forms- ugly, mundane, glorious, shocking, awesome, and just plain cool.
Try this – spend one day just writing down all the ideas you come across during that day. Just a one line sentence. From the time you get up, until you go to bed. If you don’t have enough ideas to write about for the next few years, well, I’d be shocked.
Take that list and tack it up somewhere close to where you write. As you go through it, as one idea takes over you, scratch the idea out and get writing. Using any method that works for you.
Just write it.
Lynn grew up in New Orleans eating in bars and dancing in dives. She moved to Texas in the late ’80′s and now loves big hair, barbeque and cowboys. She’s been published since 2008 and has over 30 novels and novellas under her belt, along with too many cocktails to name.
She’s working on her next book, avoiding all housework, and riding herd on two teens, one husband and a slightly neurotic dog.
Lynn loves to hear from readers…contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit her web site.