Inspiration on Demand

So, before that New Blog Smell wears off, let’s get in post #2, shall we?

This is the one wherein I talk about that most crucial part of the writing process – finding inspiration. If you’re any kind of writer, amateur or professional, and have been writing creatively for a period longer than, say, six months, you should be stifling laughter right now.

(I am, and I’m writing this blog!)

Inspiration is notoriously fickle. Tapping into your muse is difficult, but here’s what works for me:

1) lots and lots of notebooks, easily accessible.
2) always having pens on me.
3) being prepared.

I’ve heard of musicians having guitars everywhere within their apartments or houses, so that they can get ideas out whenever they have them.

I view the writing process in the same way; when you’re searching for inspiration, you can get it anywhere, at any time, and notebooks are infinitely more portable than guitars.

I also try to do a few other things as well :

1) Associate it with something.
2) Slow things down.
3) Be descriptive.

Normally, ideas rush through the head, and in an instant, they’re gone. Try to make them last, or be more tangible.

  • If you can Associate an idea with an image, a taste, a sensation, ANYTHING, you’ll be able to recall it easier later on.

Secondly, Slow Things Down. Sometimes ideas come fast, but you always want to get as much out of an idea as possible.

  • If you can take the time to think an idea out, it will be better developed in your head.
    You may miss a couple small parts, but if you’ve still got the central idea, they may come back later.

Lastly, Be Descriptive.

  • The more effort you put into your ideas – is the character tall? How does he dress?
    How would he sound in real life? – the more you can hold on to, the longer your idea will last.

A perfect example – last week, I was thinking about I girl I met a while back, who bemoaned the state of the “strong woman” breaking into any male-dominated field. We had also talked and joked about her being an evil genius, since Dr. Horrible was a point of conversation we kept coming back to.

(in all fairness, she had a few hours’ sleep spread across several days; she tended to repeat herself, and charmingly so.)

So, after some time had passed, and I had been listening to Skullcrusher Mountain on loop, the idea emerged and began to solidify itself:

What about a female evil genius, looking to establish herself in a man’s world of villainy?

The idea kicked around in my head a bit more. I liked it, and decided to detail it a bit. But I felt it was missing something; at this point, I was about to head off to go see Weezer, so I tucked the idea away and hopped in the car.

However, it was another song that helped me crystallize the idea, and capture the theme of it; four songs into their set, Weezer played one of my favorites, Perfect Situation, and that was it.

What if she wasn’t evil to begin with? What if she just screwed up at being good, and saw this as a way to redeem herself?

I managed to build some connections in my head, and as soon as I got home three hours later, I jotted out the ideas i had and fell asleep.

That, of course, was just the start of the process, and the idea itself has become something quite unique and different, but I felt I’d share with you the way my mind works.

If I somehow set off a rash of stories about conflicted female evil geniuses, It’d make me happy… especially if they’re well written!

-Brian

P.S. If they’re trash, please, by all means, euthanize your computer.

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