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Monday, April 19, 2010

"You're The Meaning In My Life...You're The Inspiration..."

What inspires you to write?

Music is one method; life experiences are another.

My dad liked classical music, and while riding in the car with him, or listening at home, my brain would conjure images of a storyline. I was bored one afternoon and put on his favorite mix tape. Soon I was acting out a trial; being a conductor (2001 Space Odyssey); acting out the lyrics to One Tin Soldier and Those Were The Days. In fact, several weeks later, I wrote my first story based on the song One Tin Soldier and my creative writing teacher enjoyed it, although she told me if I was going to write fiction, to be careful about using actual people (I'd had the stone guarded by several prominent sports figures, plus our own Jr. High football teams!).

As I began my writing career, I'd put the kids down for naps, turn on Hooked On Classics, and write for two hours. I'd go to the laundromat, play the juke box, and write while my clothes spun around in the washers and dryers.

I've written to Prince, Madonna, Aqua, Bon Jovi, and Frank Sinatra. This drives my husband crazy, because he'd rather watch TV. So I've learned to write during hunting shows, Discovery Channel, and even SyFy and History channels. And when my toddler was growing up, I wrote to the sounds of Nick Jr...Wonder Pets, Dora, Diego, and Backyardigans.

While watching the Olympics this past winter, the eventual Ice Dancing winners wowed me with their original dance routine, and I envisioned a love story. I've kept it on my DVR, much to the family's disgust. But until I'm ready to write that story (characters are still only whispering snippets in my ear), it will remain. Yeah, I know; I could probably find it on YouTube....

I've also listened to news briefs on the radio and had characters jump into my head (Wild At Heart is a perfect example). I've been out in the community and certain situations will send the brain spinning (like the time I discovered I was being flirted with at a store) or I'll overhear a conversation and the creative wheels will take off.

My latest endeavor was simply brain storming with others, and a suggestion from a reader. Sometimes many elements will come together to inspire the muse to insist I sit down and write.

Lately, a certain reality TV show has inspired a bizarre 'what if...' situation to begin churning in my brain. I'm only on page 3, so don't want to jinx myself by talking about it too soon. But if it manages to come together and sound halfway plausible, I'll be thrilled. And two weeks ago I attended a ballroom dancing class and suddenly another wip's plot seemed to come together.

After four months of my muse being on vacation, this is a welcome change. Now if I can just get the family to leave me alone so I can write!

So what kick-starts your muse?

14 comments:

Margay said...

Hi, Molly! I love reading about what inspires other people - and then compare it to what inspires me. My mind seems to be on constant alert for some little tidbit that will start a story because things such as a turn of a phrase can set me off. And my daughters - especially my younger one - have fertile minds, so they are always giving me ammo - I mean, story starters. My little one has a very creative way of putting things!
Margay

Amber Skyze said...

I love that your muse has returned. Mine came back Saturday night on the way home from Foxwoods Casino. I heard the Nickelback song, If Today Was Your Last Day.
All the way home I thought about it. Why am I procrastinating? So yesterday and today I've been writing! Let's hope the muse is here long term.

Renee Vincent said...

If I need some inspriration, I usually take a cup of coffee down to my 5 acre lake and just sit, listen and look. Since my books are historicals set in Ireland, my lake helps me to conjure up scenes and dialogue by putting me in a place that looks like the setting in my books - on the Shannon River. I love my lake for that reason and so much more.
Great blog post, Molly!

Molly Daniels said...

Margay: Aren't kids wonderful?

Amber: I wrote one book based on a news item. All of a sudden, this character jumped into my head and said, 'That's me! Write my story!'

Renee: I wrote some of my early books while sitting by Tampa Bay (my grandmother lived on the water), and more recently, in 2001 while on vacation in Colorado, I went off by myself and spent two hours perched on a rock, just taking in the mountain air and adding to book #6 of my Arbor U story.

jean hart stewart said...

Very interesting blog. All the comments are fascinating too, as you all explain your different inspirations. I can't tell you what inspires me. The character is suddenly there is my head saying "I want a story of my own" and I'm forces to give him one. Characters come first with me, then plot. Jean

Sandy said...

Great blog.

I have to have absolute quiet before I can write. I wish I could work with music and other noises around, but I can't.

Judith Leger said...

I'm a lot like you Molly. So many things can trigger inspiration in me. I could have several stories running rampage through my head at one time.

Molly Daniels said...

Jean: Sometimes that's all it takes:) Dreams can even cause characters to whisper.

Sandy: Even when there's no noise, I can still hear music in my head. This caused havoc several years ago when I had to have my hearing tested. All of a sudden, I'm 'hearing' songs and had to concentrate to hear the tones.

Judith: Sometimes my brain feels 'crowded' with characters vying for attention. Once the muse visited while in the shower...and before I got to the computer, they all decided I was 'too busy' and left. Fortunately, I did manage to write down at least the idea. And am still working on it.

Tiffany Green said...

Great post! I love to write to love songs and classical music. Anything else just ticks off my muse. The picky little vixen doesn't like to watch TV, either, and needs hours at a time. I envy anyone who can write with Nick TV on.

April Ash said...

You've got lots to inspire you...great! I've got to have it quiet when I work (guess I'm easily distracted!).
Now go write!
Marianne/April

Molly Daniels said...

Tiffany: Maybe that's why several of my ideas 'fizzled' out on me in the 2nd chapter. Who can get their characters in bed while listening to 'Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets we're on our way/to save a baby octopus and save the day...' LOL:)

April: I'm trying....

Tina Donahue said...

For me, reading inspired me to write. I was one of the only kids in grade school who wanted to stay in my seat, reading a book, rather going outside to play. From the beginning, stories captured my imagination. I recall one I read when I was ten - "Mystery in Old Quebec". To this day, I can see the peeling wallpaper and how the firelight made rosy patterns on it. Books were my world. And when I read just about everything I could, I started to write. :) Great blog, Molly!

Molly Daniels said...

LOL Tina...I've mentioned this before; I always left a movie or a book wondering 'what next?' and my sis and I would continue the story, or we'd act it out with Barbies. And then I'd get mad b/c she couldn't follow the 'script' in my head, and I couldn't tell her! I thought it was obvious, but no...

PokCalaway0710 said...

haha~ funny! thank you for your share~ ........................................

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