Inspiration for Writing
Where do you find inspiration? I find it in normal life. Yes, the literature I read helps me develop my style and correct my grammar a little bit, but ultimately it is everyday life.
For example, I was daydreaming today at work and remembered a hilarious game of truth or dare that I played as a teenager. Then I thought that it would be a really cool idea to throw that into the novel I'm writing, but in this game the stakes are much higher.
I also listen to people. If I have free time (which isn't very often having 2 kids and working full time), I like to sit at restaurants or coffee houses or bars for that matter (with friends of course...I don't drink alone) and just listen to the conversations that people are having.
Yes, this is eavesdropping and it's incredibly rude, but I don't care. If it will help me perfect my craft, then I can give two hoots about what anyone else thinks. I learn different personality types, quirky senses of humor, and different views about politics, family, work, pleasure, and just life in general.
I find myself picking different personality quirks to create a character. Some of my characters are based off of people I know, but not all. To create some of my characters which are unlike people in my world, I have to create them from scratch especially if their experiences are unlike any I or anyone else I know have experienced before.
Even though I take a lot of what I write by eavesdropping, I am a true believe in the saying, "write what you know". In my debut series, my main character, Macy, is from New York. Though I am not from NY, my parents are and I'm able to give a real perspective on a person from NY. Also, she moves from a big city to a small country town. I can relate to that because I'm from a fast-paced part of Florida where all the cities are close together and there's traffic galore. When I set my sights on college, I wanted to find a place with a more laid-back atmosphere, a country setting. Gainesville filled that bill. Though the college town is bustling, the outskirts are quaint and hardcore down home country.
This setting also helped me create the town of Bougainvillea. Some characters, some of the funniest ones, are actual people. Don't think for one second I'll tell you who they are.
One more pointer....when inspiration strikes, pounce on it immediately. The biggest mistake I made when I first started writing was not writing it down or recording my ideas immediately. By the time I would get home, fire up the laptop and start typing I would completely or partially forget the great idea or concept I had and it just wasn't quite the same.
I have a system now. It's not the very best, but this is what I do. I have a bad habit of stashing old receipts in my purse and forgetting them completely. So let's say I have this spectacular idea for a book in the bread aisle at the grocery store. I'll stop what I'm doing, pull out a tattered old receipt and a writing utensil and jot down my idea. I'll then take it and put it in a particular spot in my wallet and next time I get to typing, I'll know where to find it.
I used to carry around a mini composition (classic black and white marble one) with me but then I would forget it at home and go grabbing a stray receipt. So now I just stick to the receipts.
Let me know where you find inspiration or how you handle ideas or spurs of inspiration in your everyday life....
Wanna know more about me?
Follow Me on Twitter @Jeanette Pekala
Visit my website: http://jeanettepekala.com/
Read the first chapter of "Culture Shock" my first YA novel at: http://adventuresoflifeandliterature.blogspot.com/2012/08/excerpt-from-culture-shock.html