Friday, February 22, 2013

10 Ways to Find Inspiration for Writing Fiction

10 Ways to Find Inspiration for Writing Fiction

When writing a novel, short story, poetry, music, etc. it's important to draw inspiration for your writing. Many authors pull from different places and I am no different. Here are a few places in life where I pull inspiration from. I hope these will help you along your writing journey.

1. Eavesdropping on Conversation: Okay, I'm not creepy or anything. Most times it's unintentional. Imagine you're sipping your latte at your local coffee joint and two funky individuals start having a conversation that piques your interest. You start listening. The topics and responses become fascinating to where your mind, as a writer, starts churning out ideas for dialogue, character development, etc.

2. Books: The books you read, especially by your favorite authors, will inspire you. The genre, writing style, etc. The more you read, the better you write.

3. Movies or TV Shows: Sometimes I'll sit with my writing journal and watch a movie or TV drama to spur some ideas if I've hit a brick wall or rough patch with my writing. I won't ever copy ideas, but watching the actors' actions to a similar situation I'm working up in a work-in-progress helps. For example: a horror scene, you're trying to describe the reaction to something scary a character is witnessing. Seeing it in action on the scene will help you visualize how your character should react in print.

Other times the camera angle and close ups on certain objects on the big screen can inflict certain scenes or emotions in your mind which lead to inspiration for a plot, etc.

4. Art: A lot of people find inspiration in Art. I mostly find it in photography. Seeing the world through another's eye, seeing a different perspective on something I've seen a ba-jillion times. Like say, a flower, but this particular flower's colors are vivid and there's a rivulet of dew dripping off a petal. Those types of things inspire me. I have a photographer friend. Her pictures are poetic. Nearly every image she takes, whether it be a family session or inanimates, they are breathtaking and bring out the extraordinary in ordinary things.

5. Music: I listen to music when I write. It inspires me, especially in action or love scenes. I know I may seem strange, but the background music to the video game Skyrim is the shizzle for writing music. It's daunting, yet lyrical, hard at times and soft at others. It's perfect how it builds to a crescendo then slowly pitters out.

6. Travel: Whether it's getting out of your environment or taking the trip to where a setting in your novel takes place, travel can inspire any artist. Last weekend, I went to Cedar Key where the next installment of Culture Shock takes place. I just sat in the thick of the harbour with tourists and locals milling about and took out my writing journal. I sat and watched, smelled the sea air, and absorbed my surrounding so that I may write a believable description of the setting I have in mind. The more things I focused in on, the more ideas popped into my head. It was like rapid fire for brainstorming.

7. Dreams: (Or nightmares in my case) I have some of the most animated dreams/nightmares. The concept for Culture Shock came from a nightmare I had. The climax of the book and the nightmares (that seemed to reoccur) themselves were the catalysts to the main plot line.

8. People Watching: Oh, people watching, one of America's favorite pastimes. Football, apple pie, and people watching...the American Dream. Whether you're at the mall, in a crowded park, or a restaurant, people watching can create scenes, gestures, or actions that can inspire your writing.

9. Google: Need I say more? Google, oh and Wikipedia too, can help solve a lot of questions you may have including enhancing your story. For example, you know you want to write a story about zombies and your current knowledge consists of flesh-eating monsters back from the dead and you want to know more. So you type "zombies" into your browser. You'll read the history of where the lore of zombies derived and maybe some theories or fanatical accounts of zombies, etc. You can branch out from there and create scenes based on your research.

10. Writing Journal: I mentioned this above, but a writing journal is an essential for any aspiring or current author. First and foremost, I bring mine everywhere. An idea will spark at any time and you don't want to be caught in a similar situation I ran into when I first started this writing journey. I would get this great idea and then get home to jot it down, but I would forget it or the idea would lose its essence and fall flat. Never again!!!! That trusty little marbled black and white composition notebook goes with me everywhere (even my day job...don't tell!).

***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

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Happy Reading,



  1. Brainstorming is a good way to begin the creative process when writing. Fiction writers often come up with their initial inspiration and ideas by simply jotting down any and every idea that enters the mind.
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    1. Thanks Henry. I agree. Brainstorming is essential. Thanks for the input!

  2. Agree with all of the above! Especially dreams :-)

    1. Thanks! Yes, dreams would be my #1 choice.