1. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inspiration: Where does it come from?

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by Kit, Apr 15, 2007.

    The title is pretty self explanatory... where does your inspiration come from?

    Myself, I feel that my inspiration comes from a mixture of my own life, the life of those around me and in parts what I read as other writers inspire me to keep going at times.

    Do you often find that you write about a character that resembles yourself or is your work 100% a work of fiction?
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Inspiration tends to come from being inspired.

    And...that about sums it up, really.
     
  3. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lol... but what inspires you? :p
     
  4. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    I just told you that: Inspiration. There is no "what" to inspiration- it just is. You don't ask, "What type of breathing do you use?" You don't ask, "What type of pregnant do you want to be? It's just breathing through and through, and it's just being pregnant.
    Likewise, inspiration is just...inspiration.
     
  5. Myst
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    Myst Active Member

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    Would be a good pick-up line, though.

    "Hey, miss. What kind of pregnant do you want to be?"
     
  6. Ferret
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    Ferret Contributing Member

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    I'm a thief. I take an idea and twist it around until I can call it my own. For instance:
    The Dark Tower series= A very long story featuring a guy who knows how to shoot. Make the characters polor opposites, add in some magic,a failed love, set it in the real world, and you have one of my "sagas"

    Redwall, LOTOR & Norse mythology= The Ferret, which I cannot for some reason post here.

    Marvel's Runaways= [Teens + {teenage emtions + problems} + crazy superpowers + new setting - stereotypes = We young Gods, my only other work in progress]
     
  7. Myst
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    Myst Active Member

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    Bow to the curvaceousnessness that is Runaways.

    lyk omg. srsly.
     
  8. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    PMSL! I would love to hear that sometime... although i'd hope they weren't being serious as i'd be unable to do little other than laugh in their face...
     
  9. Isis
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    Isis Senior Member

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    I'm not sure -- I have to agree with Ivan (the Terrible?) that its just inspiration, sometimes you get stuck with an image or a phrase and down it goes and it grows into something different. Sometimes I just feel like writing something and sit down and see what it was I wanted to write when I'm done with it.

    (That, and Neil Gaiman has something good to say about ideas.)
     
  10. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inspiration comes from everywhere it cannot really ne isolated into one thing.
    Life really would have to be the biggest inspiratin for any writer for without life there would be nothing at all when you think about it.
    I am with crazyivan on this one to be honest, you can't really say that any one thing inspires you as everything around us inspires us.

    ~Torana
     
  11. HellOnEarth
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    HellOnEarth Banned

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    My inspiration comes from God, Dahl, my family, and my readers.

    In that order.
     
  12. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    My inspiration comes from all over.
    Books, movies, anecdotes, jokes, images flashed into my head by a giant space faring brain, history, news reports, a walk down the street, extreme boredom. Everything can inspire me. It's simply a case of grabbing it with both hands, beating it into something I like, and putting it on paper.
     
  13. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    [semi-cross-posted from another thread]


    I seem to have a harder time not getting inspired: "Oh, damn, I'm out of coffee!... ....hey, you know - there could be a short story in that..."


    The novels and short stories I'm working on now were inspired by:

    - a story contest at a local writing center (deadline long since past, but story still worth developing).

    - a news item I heard on the radio.

    - a semi-legendary incident I read about in a history book.

    - a war story my BF told that I semi-misunderstood at first.

    - reading one too many mediocre murder mysteries and thinking "Aw, c'mon - even I could write better than that!"

    - sea stories my sister told me (I do have a rare advantage there in having a sister with sea stories to tell :)

    - too many trips to the doctor's office.

    - the very vivid dreams I had while on morphine after the surgery that all those doctors ultimately recommended.

    - a story contest on another online writing forum (deadline long since past, but story still worth developing).

    - the "Relative" story contest on this writing forum (deadline already past, but story idea about my grandfather still worth developing).


    - Evelyn the over-inspired
     
  14. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Ooh, can I know what those shaped into? Sound interesting.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for me [and the many successful writers i've known], anywhere and everywhere!... that's part of what makes one a writer... no one 'needs' to find inspiration, if they're naturally gifted with the writing curse... it's there in everything we do/see/hear/learn...

    not being able to turn it off is the problem! ;-)
     
  16. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    Okay, Ivan :)
    (Flattery will get you everywhere :) :) :)


    It was a Valentine's Day contest, to write a story that was sexually charged but free of any outright erotic content.

    My unfinished, yet-to-be-titled, story is about a woman engineer who works in a world of double-entendre technical terms (erection plans, thrust plates, butt splices, etc.), and is futilely infatuated with a happily married colleague.

    I have the characters & setting mostly down, but the story is languishing in search of a plot.


    The news item was about the practice of infanticide still going on in some parts of the world, and it got me to wondering how the parents might feel if they had to let a baby die because they couldn't feed or care for it.

    "The Longest Night" is about a mother and father (and their children) who endure years of drought & famine, and eventually find themselves with no way to feed their newest baby.

    It's in the final stages of revision. I would love to post it here, but am interested in perhaps entering it in a writing contest, and I don't want to risk messing up the first publication rights.


    This project is a yet-to-be-titled novel:

    Sometime circa 1496 on the Isle of Mull, the only living son of Ian MacLean, the 6th Laird of Lochbuie, was killed in battle. Hector MacLean, the 11th Laird of nearby Duart, happened to be there supporting his distant kinsman Ian of Lochbuie.

    However seeing that Ian was now without an heir, Hector of Duart now took Ian of Lochbuie prisoner and held him. Hector wanted to be make sure that Ian would die without an heir, so that he (Hector) could lay claim as a MacLean to the Lochbuie lands.

    To guard against any possibility of an heir, he was held in a castle on a tiny, remote, island. No women were allowed anywhere near the island - except for one elderly maidservant described by Hector as "the ugliest woman on Mull."

    (So, what else could possibly happen? :) The maidservant got pregnant and bore Ian a male heir, who eventually reclaimed the Lochbuie lands and title.

    That's the historical legend.


    I want to tell the story of the maidservant: what would it be like suspect that you might be the ugliest woman on the island, and then to have your liege-lord so insultingly confirm it?

    How would she be seduced by the young laird of Lochbuie?

    How (on earth!) did she manage to conceal the baby's sex from the Duart men who were waiting outside the birthchamber to kill any boy-child; and how was the new heir spirited away to a remote glen to be raised by a sympathetic family?


    I've been doing all kinds of research on medieval Scotland and Mull and the MacLean Clan(s) and the island and the castle; and am at the point now where I need to pull all my notes together, get them organized, fill in any gaps, and (take a deep breath and) start writing.

    All that will happen - oh, just about any moment now :)


    It was actually about a training exercise: he was talking about the point when all the "dead" soldiers get to stand up, go get their K.I.A. (Killed In Action) cards, and use them as tickets to get onto the trucks that will take them off to have hot showers and hot chow.

    I was half-asleep (or maybe half-drunk :), and thought at first that he was talking about the real thing (he fought in Vietnam, and talks about it mostly when at least one of us is half-asleep or half-drunk).

    I found myself thinking of what it would be like if all the dead soldiers on a real battlefield could leave the stink and carnage of their bodies behind, floating over the battlefield to a wraith-sergeant issuing ghostly K.I.A. cards, and then climbing into spectral deuce-and-a-halfs that will take them to purify and fortify themselves with spirit showers and phantom chow, before they go on to whatever the afterlife brings them.
    (I mean, hell, they deserve at least that much.)

    I'm maybe halfway through the first draft of "K.I.A. Cards".


    It's a truly "rotten" case: evidence that seems to indicate murder, itself in a variety of states of decay, starts turning up in compost piles all over Los Angeles :)


    All about being on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea in February, and often being the only woman on board. A sort of memoir of her stories, as written by me, with the names changed to protect just about everybody.

    Working title is a play on "Captains Courageous" -
    "The Deckhands Undaunted" :)



    It turns out that when you have a gynecological problem that causes infertility, you go to a fertility specialist.

    If he's any good, you get to share his waiting room with visibly pregnant women and lots of women cradling eensy-beensy newborn babies. For some reason, the magazines are usually all "Parenting" and "Baby Care" and the like.

    If your own primary symptom is severe physical pain, your time in the waiting room is even less fun.

    The story, tentatively titled just "Pain", is about those waiting rooms, the thoughtlessness that genuinely caring medical staff can so easily exhibit, and what it's like to be in an awful lot of pain for a very long time.


    A novel about a girl who runs away from an isolated and repressive religious community in the desert, only to become involved with a pimp/player in the Big City. Meant to explore the nature of repression, subservience and freedom; but I'm not sure I can avoid the trite.

    Possible spin-off/whole 'nother novel about the woman sheriff of the town nearest the religious enclave, and her friendship with the town's one Chinese family.

    (Morphine is very inspiring stuff, but I'm not sure if ideas generated hold up that well upon sober examination :)
    (And it is definitely not worth having a hysterectomy just for the drugs :)


    "The Privilege of Dining with Mrs. Parker"

    In which I have dinner with a deceased but still animated Dorothy Parker, and we discuss her life and work. Sort-of ghost story, mostly biographical tribute, some of my own ideas about how her life influenced her work & vice-versa.

    Complete but very rough draft needs rescuing from a defunct hard disc (long, stupid story), and a fill-&-polish to make sure I've got the mannerisms and Parkerisms as they should be.

    Seems kind of weird to have a story intertwined so heavily with someone else's work, but I like this story a lot and think it has some real merit.


    I only have one memory of my maternal grandfather. This would be that memory from his point of view:

    He'd come from rural Kansas to visit us in suburban California. While he was doing some work on our house, he saw a little kid riding down the sidewalk on a tricycle with a partly broken wheel. He went over to the kid to offer fix it for him - but that kid knew better than to talk to some stranger on the street, much less let him mess with his tricycle.

    Grandpa was heartbroken that he should be so mistrusted by a five-year-old. I was about five myself, and I remember consoling him and assuring him that it really wasn't his fault. It was the first time I'd ever seen a grown-up man cry.

    I haven't even started drafting this one, but it's definitely one I'm going to write.


    There are also a few movie script treatments, and some non-fiction projects, that I'd like to do - but the above are plenty for now :)


    - Evelyn, who literally has more stories than she can tell :)
     
  17. stav
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    stav New Member

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    Oof, most of my main characters are me, or if female, the female version of me. :D Even to the extent of what they wear or how they look like.

    Fortunately, I am getting better with practice. Often I'll do a character sketch where I set up one like me, and then develop secondary characters in relation to him that will be used in a story as the main one.
     
  18. daisydaisy
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    daisydaisy Member

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    Like others have said, my inspiration comes from all over the place, and each of my stories was inspired by completely different things. I think as writers, we all have naturally inquisitive natures. We see normal things around us and question why? Why has someone written their name on that bus shelter? Just daft stuff like that, but it can spark off the idea for a story. One of the first stories I wrote came from the question: can ghosts see each other? The images came to me in a dream, and I wrote the whole story in one day. My last completed story came from a picture a friend drew, of a guy kneeling on the floor with a girls dead body in front of him. I wrote a story to explain what happened to get to that point. So you see, it can come from anywhere, really.
     

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