1. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207

    Unable to identify my inspiration

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by ToeKneeBlack, Jun 18, 2015.

    When talking to people about my book, one of the first questions they tend to ask me is "What was your inspiration?"

    Each time they ask this, I feel completely unprepared, as I can't remember what motivated me to start writing.

    Does anybody else find that they are unable to identify their muse?
     
  2. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    868
    Likes Received:
    957
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Several times as an adult I've reread or rewatched or replayed something that I remember loving as a kid and realized how much it inspired certain aspects of various things I've written. Plus, it's usually pretty fun to revisit something you haven't thought much about in a while. Would recommend.
     
    ToeKneeBlack likes this.
  3. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    Looking more closely at it, the inspiration for this particular story comes from a wide range of sources:

    The title is from my favourite song.
    The setting is my town of birth.
    The themes are from my favourite films.
    One of the antagonists is named after someone I really didn't get on with as a child (he knows who he is).

    But I can't seem to find the driving force that made me bring the whole lot together.

    Maybe I need to go on a journey to rediscover my youth.
     
  4. No-Name Slob
    Offline

    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,232
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    I don't think it has to be really specific. Think about the theme of the story your book tells. Why is it important?

    Boom. That's your inspiration.

    For (really stupid) example: if asked about the inspiration for 50 Shades, E.L. James could say, "I think it's important for people to explore their sexual desires in a safe way, and 50 Shades allows them to do so." In reality, she'd probably answer Twilight, but the idea is the same.

    Yes, 50 Shades is a terrible book, but it was the first one to jump to mind that most people are aware of. :p
     
    ToeKneeBlack likes this.
  5. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,758
    Likes Received:
    1,299
    :dead:

    Not Hunger Games? Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? Narnia? The Da Vinci Code? Catcher in the Rye? Catch-22? War and Peace? Moby Dick?

    EDIT: To Kill a Mockingbird? Tom Sawyer? 1984? Fahrenheit 451? Brave New World? I'd even accept Divergent if you told me you were really desperate.

    EDIT AGAIN: What about Mortal Instruments? Percy Jackson? The Dark Tower? Animal Farm? Crime and Punishment? Lord of the Flies? Of Mice and Men? The Grapes of Wrath? Dracula? Frankenstein? Carmilla? A Tale of Two Cities?

    Or, if you're desperate again: The Fault in our Stars?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  6. No-Name Slob
    Offline

    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,232
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Any of those would have been a great choice, but I just really wanted to annoy everyone. :D
     
  7. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    That's probably the best place to start - I'll have a think about it, thanks :)
     
  8. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,223
    Likes Received:
    4,228
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    ...Dragonball Z??

    Not gonna lie, my fantasy story was so heavily inspired by Dragonball Z, The Legend of Zelda, Avatar: The Last Airbender and a bunch of other stuff that I'm not really sure if it can even work anymore. :p I keep imagining my MC with a Sayian scouter bending the elements like a boss, but that's not who she really is. xD

    But yeah, @No-Name Slob says it best. Think of the theme of the book and it might spark that inspiration again.
     
  9. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    You're a fictional writer. Make something up. Who's going to know?

    :agreed:

    eg:

    Random: so uh yeah tell me, TonyBlack, what inspired you to write?
    TKB: The voices in my head!! And they don't like where your questions are going!!
     
    Tesoro and GingerCoffee like this.
  10. Ivana
    Offline

    Ivana Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    126
    Location:
    Far side of Unatsu
    But that's the whole point - no one can really explain the driving force that lies behind the work of art, and why some people have it, while others don't.
     
  11. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    At one point in my life I attended a number of concerts by composers who are still alive today. A lot of the time, they were actually there at the concert, to be interviewed about what was in the mind of the artist at the moment of creation.

    I came away with the firm conviction that composers are just like footballers...great at what they're good at; talk b********s the rest of the time.
     
    Ivana likes this.
  12. Lance Schukies
    Offline

    Lance Schukies Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2015
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    39
    Just say a news article you once read, but it all changed once you started writing.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,605
    Likes Received:
    5,879
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Because of how you feel about your childhood, or because you knew the place?
    Sounds more and more like your early years influenced, if not inspired the book.

    Along with some movies. ;)
     
  14. Lux C.
    Offline

    Lux C. New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    11
    I think discovering that lies in reflecting on the emotional impact the contents or story of your book projects. I imagine writing is something you love to do. It's an act of letting others witness your imagination and ideas expressed. The answer should come naturally; regardless of the simplicity or complexity of that answer.
     
  15. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    All my friends are artists. Never has a single one asked where I get my inspiration, because the already fucking know.
     
  16. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    Since finishing my first book, I've met someone who bought a copy. There's something about her that brings out my passion for writing, but I'm married. I feel like I can't write without her, but I can't devote much time to her between my family and work.

    We had arranged to meet for half an hour today, but she couldn't make it, so I'm feeling really down right now. Work has shut down until early January, so it'll be 2 weeks before I see her again. We haven't talked about a relationship, but she has mentioned that she wants to spend more time with me. Her mere presence is enough to inspire me. I'm worried this might become too complicated for me to handle.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  17. KhalieLa
    Offline

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    United States
    As a child my parent's told me not to lie. I told them not to think of it as a lie so much as fiction!

    I guess I'm fortunate that I know where my inspiration comes from.
     
  18. WriterMMS
    Offline

    WriterMMS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    31
    I'm my own inspiration.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    My advice: Stop searching. Why do you want to know?

    More than once, I've written something and realized, months later, that there were one or more underlying themes that I wasn't aware of while writing. On none of those occasions would the writing, INCLUDING the way that the writing dealt with the theme, have been better if I'd been aware of the theme. I'm almost positive that it would have been worse.

    As another example, consider dreams. Have you ever woken from a surreal dream and realized, a few minutes or hours or days later, that that dream had a message about your life, one communicated in symbols that your conscious, intentional brain couldn't have come up with?
     
  20. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    It sounds like you are likely charging straight for the destruction of your marriage. I would strongly suggest thinking long and hard about whether you still value that marriage. If you want to be out of it, there are much less painful ways to get out.
     
    BayView likes this.
  21. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    You're right. My wife is very loving and supportive, but she thinks a career in writing isn't worth pursuing. Even without reading my first book, she's condemned it as rubbish.

    Normally I can take criticism, but this is outright meanness. Some people have read the book and didn't like it, which is fair enough. You can't please everyone, and they've taken the time to go through it. But the majority of those I've spoken to do like it, and say they can't wait for the next one.

    I guess I've just become desperate for re-assurance. I'll straighten things out when I go back to work and try to sober up in the meantime.
     
  22. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,758
    Likes Received:
    1,299
    @ToeKneeBlack I was going to ask if you'd talked to your wife and assured her that your friendship with this reader would be strictly platonic, but

    I'm honestly not sure how you get "loving and supportive" out of this.
     
  23. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    Are you absolutely sure that you're interpreting this correctly? That is, did she say the words, "Your book is absolute rubbish."? Or did she say something like, "Don't quit your job on the assumption that your book will be a financial success." and you extrapolated?

    If she said the words, that's horrible . But people do extrapolate.
     
  24. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    I believe her exact words were that the book was "not worth reading" and that it "doesn't have enough action". How she came to those conclusions is beyond me as she hasn't held a copy of the book in her hands.

    She does have a preference for stories like the Fifty Shades series, so maybe she means there isn't enough romance. My protagonists are 12 years old, so there's little beyond an attempt at holding hands.
    In terms of non-romantic action, there's a robot that blows holes into several buildings, a girl who can manipulate energy and convert it into beams, lots of guys with various types of guns and a building which may or may not explode with a 30-mile radius of destruction. Any more action than that and I'd be plagiarizing Michael Bay; I'd have more respect as a writer of erotic novels ;)

    But in all other aspects of our relationship, she is forgiving of my faults and appreciates that I work hard to earn money for the family; she works hard too, both at home and in the local community. Maybe she's overdoing it and taking out her frustrations on my book because she sees it as a waste of time.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    5,506
    I wonder if she sees you as getting creative hobby time while she sees herself not getting any? That's no excuse for her insulting the book; she should instead demand a negotiation about time for personal pursuits.
     

Share This Page