Where, oh Where, Do I Find Inspiration?

What the heck happened to September?

Here it is, almost the end of October already, and I’m just getting my act together to post yet another rambling. I really struggled coming up with a topic last month, hoping inspiration would fly in like a glorious winged creature and hit me in the head, but alas, it did not. So this month, it did just that, in the shower as I prepared for work.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss. No, not my shower. Inspiration.

It comes from many things. The woman walking hurriedly past you on the street, her heels clicking furiously on the concrete, could be a character in your next piece. The park you frequented as a child, the one with the enormous willow tree by the pond you used to climb so you could sit in its branches as it gently rocked you, could be a scene.

Sometimes inspiration is a word or sentence. It’s always with me, that dark passenger nagging at me, but I have to fight it. So much can be built off that one line. Are they a murderer, possessed by a demon, struggling with depression – it’s your choice. Words carry weight, too. Debris says so much. It’s destruction and devastation or it’s carelessness and neglect.

History is a great source of inspiration. Whether it’s a battle that was lost or a colony that struggled, but then persevered, there’s a story to be told, even if it’s a little skewed by your telling of it. Want an intriguing and dynamic character? Check out Greek, Roman, and Celtic myths or Native American and African folklore. Building off those are options, too.

I’ve always wanted to write a story like Daimon, having it in the back of my mind since middle school. But, to confess, the story really took shape thanks to Twilight…but also the Harry Potter, Dexter, and Sookie Stackhouse series. When I started reading again, it reignited my desire to write. Then there’s the movie I have to credit, a lovely gem of a cult rock opera called Repo! The Genetic Opera. All it took was one scene in the movie and my burgeoning idea from years ago and Daimon was born. Seems odd, but it really isn’t. See, inspiration from any and everything.

When you’re lacking inspiration, that’s when writer’s block rears its ugly head. Staring at a blank screen, watching that dreaded blinking cursor and wondering what your next word or line will be. Personally, I step away. I go on a quest to find my lost inspiration or something to trigger a new one. On occasion, I’ll work on another piece. Then poof! Writer’s block gone.

So what have we learned? Sometimes, inspiration doesn’t come at you like the great winged creature. It can creep into your brain like a microscopic bug, infesting it and preventing you from sleeping until your get rid of it. Or it’s like a cat, jumping on your lap and curling up as if to stay for awhile. Other times, you have to find it, searching high and low and far and wide. Or you can move on to something else and hope it resurfaces.

Hopefully I’ve help in inspiring you, readers and aspiring writers. Don’t give up, because someday that great winged creature will come flying at you, so be prepared!

 

A Story Is So Much More Than The Writing of It

So another month has gone by, which means another blog post is due. Being inspired by my recent challenge of writing a short story for an upcoming anthology submission, I decided to make this about what that entails.

As the title indicates, it’s not just about sitting down and writing a story. Sure, an idea can just pop in your head and you put pen to paper or fingers to keys and the words just flow. But sometimes that’s not the case. Occasionally, you struggle with an idea or have to plot and plan and research. Sometimes there’s inspiration and sometimes you have to force it.

That was the case recently for me. Several ideas manifested in my mind, but none panned out. I wanted to do something contemporary, but there were already so many that had been submitted. I thought about going for the obvious, but then felt it was cliche. So I dug deeper and did some research.

I wanted to highlight something that was often overlooked, whether that’s a group of people or folklore or a small point in history that influenced a larger event. Being that I didn’t live in the area that was the setting for the story, I resorted to intense scouring of the internet. I bounced some ideas off family and friends and then started to shape my story.

I had a vague idea of what I wanted and I played around with it. I went back to considering a contemporary story, even mapping out areas where it would take place, but in the end, decided I needed a more unique approach. So I looked at timelines and major events, finding a worthy year to set my story.

So I wrote and revised and rewrote. Days of research turned into just over 2,000 words. Then I edited it, had several people read it and give feedback, and then made more changes as necessary.

And that was just for a short story.

Now take a novel of over 260,000 words and wrap your head around what it took to write that. And research. And edit.

Personally, I may have gone a bit overboard with the research I put into my books. Yes, plural – Daimon is a trilogy…and then some. I knew the area I was writing about (I visited it frequently and even lived and worked there for awhile), but I still had to verify places, especially ones I didn’t know about prior to writing. I also wanted to find stories, ghost or otherwise, that only locals knew about to incorporate into it.

My husband and daughter helped, too, with planning out scenes using Barbie dolls and G.I. Joes (more so for the second book’s big action sequence). I sketched ideas and when inspiration struck, I jotted notes down. You should see my collection of notebooks; I carry them everywhere with me, just in case. I went so far as to find house plans online so I knew exactly how the house would be laid out when I detailed it in the story. Crazy, I know.

I have an accordion folder full of this stuff. I even wrote side stories (that I plan to someday put on this site) that give a different perspective from someone other than the main character. I wrote background stories on a few of them, just to bulk up the story in my mind. I wanted a 360° view.

Then there’s the editing process…but I think I’ll save that for a later post since it’ll make this one that much longer. I think I’ve probably bored you enough with my obsessive-compulsive writing issues.

Well, I hope you enjoyed. Stay tuned for the next post, probably in a month.

Oh, and that short story I was talking about…you can find it in the upcoming One Night in Salem anthology being published by FunDead Publications, which is coming out September 30!

That Did Not Go According to Plan

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post.

Suffice it to say, it seems the weekly blog thing was more of a stretch goal. Monthly is more like it, though that may change later as I get into editing and writing on a consistent basis. I’d blame it on vacations, but I hardly go anywhere or for any length of time. Mine consist of staying home or traveling within 100 miles of it. Day trips and no hotel stays. I’m poor right now. Ah, the life of an author…

So what can I discuss this time? I guess I can explain what has consumed my time over this past month. June had one really important milestone – my daughter graduated from high school, which was both a happy and tearful occasion. I also attended another event to hawk my wares, though it didn’t go as well as the one in May. Actual work (my job I use to support my writing habit) has been ridiculously busy. My side gig as an editor has also been keeping me distracted. Oh, and there’s the short story – details to follow…maybe. And lastly, the holiday, which seemed to drag out into the whole week. I, however, only had the day off and nothing more.

I’ve found I do a better job keeping up with everything on social media (Facebook and Instagram), but that’s a bit easier than coming up with a blog post. Again, not a blogger. I’ve also been exploring different ways to advertise and drive sales. I’m also not a salesperson – never have been, never really want to be. This is the part of being an indie author I hate the most. I would rather write, publish the story, and talk about it and the process. I would like that to drive my sales. I don’t like pushing people to buy. I want them to want to buy, whether that is from word of mouth or from talking to me or from what I post on social media. I want them to be intrigued and genuinely interested. We’ll see how that goes for me.

Well, I guess that’s it for now. Hopefully, I will post again in another month, but maybe sooner. I’ve been itching to write more.

Greetings

Welp…I’ve finally done it. I broke down and created a webpage. Welcome, me, to the 21st century. I resisted, thinking I could get by, but realized I had to out of necessity. Now you wonderful people will have another means of contacting and following me.

I’m going to put this out there…I’m not much of a blogger. Actually, I’m not a blogger at all. I love to write, but not so much about myself or things I’m doing. I’m trying to get better at it…you know, sharing my innermost thoughts and ideas. Well, maybe not innermost.

I wanted to start blogging years ago, discussing my writing and editing process, but I unfortunately didn’t have the time to devote to it with a full-time job and a family. Getting my novel out was my priority; I would worry about the rest later. Of course, I still have the full-time job and family, but the novel’s out and I can focus on this for a while…that is until I dive into editing the second book. But that could become blog fodder.

So, with that out of the way…my expectations for this blog. I hope to post something at least once a week, if not more often. I hope to share tidbits of my writing and editing process, maybe help those who need it or want it. I hope to open up more. Believe it or not, this is difficult for me to do. I’m a terrible introvert and very private. Not that I’m going to share juicy details of my exciting personal life (sarcasm), but I will talk about my writing. This is an author’s website after all.  😉