1. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Taking inspiration

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by OurJud, Jul 28, 2016.

    I know taking inspiration from other writers is nothing new and I'm sure we all do it, but I thought I'd share something that really helps me get words down and kick start new chapters or paragraphs.

    Before I start writing, I place two or three of my favourite novels on the desk before me. These should be writers whose style you admire and enjoy reading. And then I start writing.

    When - not if, but when - your flow dries up and you grind to a halt, or when you stare at the blank page of a new chapter, or find yourself asking why you're writing a particular scene and if it serves any purpose, stop and pick up one of the novels. Look at how they start new chapters, new paragraphs. Do they write scenes that a writing tutor would tell you served no real purpose and should be cut?

    This takes a matter of seconds, and just reading a single sentence or two will motivate you to get going again.

    It's a fairly new discovery for me, but I think it will turn out to be invaluable.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  2. Youssef Salameh

    Youssef Salameh Senior Member

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    Yes indeed. reading high literature books may push writers forward to having new ideas and even improving their own style of writing. Reading is not just an act of pleasure but also a process where their is spiritual interaction between reader and writer, and vice versa.
     
  3. Tall for a hobbit

    Tall for a hobbit Member

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    We all need inspiration, what we write is probably largely an accumulation of what we’ve picked up from other writers, and there’s no shame in being direct about that. I think Terry Pratchett said something about all writers taking from the literary pot, and that good writers also add to that pot.
     
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  4. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    Best inspiration is in the real world.

    Books are in the second position.

    When you pick your main inspiration from texts someone else wrote, you are drinking used water. It might save you, but it is not fresh.

    When you pick your main inspiration from the real world, reality, you get fresh water.

    Shunt or serial?

    If you drink from the same fountain with other writers, you get fresh water.

    If you drink the same water they drank first, you drink piss.

    But everyone can choose what is their cup of tea.
     
  5. Ashley Watters

    Ashley Watters Member

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    Even in the real world, the same themes repeat themselves ad infinitum. Getting from point A to point B has been done millions of times already. How we get from point A to point B will be unique to us.
    “There Is Nothing New Under The Sun”. Ecclesiastes 1:4-11

    We cannot avoid retelling the same stories. Although the overall story may not be original, the details and the telling provide originality. What we believe and how we communicate colours the reader's experience. Different readers in different times can experience the same story as something new.
    "The truth is in the details" - Stephen King.

    The water may have been drunk before but time and effort makes it pure and ready to drink again.
     
  6. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    You are right on these.

    But reality changes. It's variations are endless.

    1. I write about a contract killer. I study this topic by reading about books about contract killers. They are written by authors who have studied this topic from books that tell about...

    There is a loop. Where is the original knowledge that has anything to do with real world? Does it exist at all?

    2. I talk with a contract killer. (Yes, I have done it.) After doing this I do know if I want to or don't wan't to use a character that is a contract killer. If I do, I have much better change to build a character that has anything new, personal, interesting, believable....

    Those loops that escape reality are one reason to lousy tv-, movie- and written entertainment.

    Anyone can break those loops. It takes only a little bit of diligence.

    Inspiration from real world is the easiest way to break those loops.
     
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  7. Ashley Watters

    Ashley Watters Member

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    Ron Howard said something like: If there's a difference between myth and truth, print the myth. (re Apollo 13)
    People want to believe what sounds better or more exciting. The reality is that you can try to get everything right or you can tell the story as you see it or understand it. This actually gives more room for new ideas and different stories.

    People have really different ideas about King Arthur. Some say none of it is true. Many people do not know is that there were two kings named Arthur separated by about 200 years. The stories over the years were mixed and embellishments added. Is it any less a story? No, the ideals and the flaws are the take-aways.

    Stories don't have to be unique. They have to fulfill the purpose given by the creator. They have to respect previous authors and provide an original presentation of the subject.
     
  8. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    1. I read about books about contract killers. They are written by folks who have read books about contract killers. Those books were...

    This loop produces some kind of "fake & too much make up & not believable" pictures. It is like fast food. I can't find enough room for my ideas, my understanding, my way to build a story. Just too few nuances and they are not deep enough.

    This is a way to old ideas and same old stories with same old stuff. This is both literally and figuratively card board world.

    2. I have a private talk with someone that has done few contract kills. There is a whole world of nuances, very complex and deep things. And all of them are rooted on reality. (Social camouflage is also real if you see it as a camo.)

    This original source gives my thinking a lot more. It gives room and inspiration books didn't or couldn't.

    This is a way out of card board world of card board stories. You can and will use books also but they don't block your view so much any more.

    I am not talking about writing more documentary way but having wider and deeper inspirational and informational sources.

    Fiction needs to have close connection to reality to be really good.
     
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  9. russellh92

    russellh92 New Member

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    Thanks for your topic. I will definitely try your method, it seems to me that it will help me in writing my book in a single-step manner. I usually just put off writing in such cases and waited for inspiration to return, or I re-read what I wrote earlier and correct some mistakes.
     
  10. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Senior Member

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    I'm really inspired by Sharon Shinn's world building in her Samaria books (I think I've reread them a dozen times BEFORE i started writing). The way she writes her world, it puts you into it and you feel for the character's conflicts because it make sense within the world (angels singing to a 'god' and food/pills/rain falls from the sky might sound silly to someone who hasnt read her books, or even just one of her books, but it makes sense in the world she build... especially when you figure out what everything is really and why they are selling this false truth of 'god'). The spirituality element and the world building is a really big part of my main WIP.

    However, when I write non-genre pieces, set in the real world, and I get stuck? I don't really have an author or a book that I like or that has inspired it. I chose one of my lesser WIPs for NaNoWriMo to work on and I hit a spot where I dont know how to continue. It takes place in the south, from the POV of a 11 year old girl who's mother moves back into her life (mother suffered from postpartum depression and was hospitalized for attempted suicide upon the girl's birth and had been hospitalized for all of the girl's life). Through out the story, the girl goes through an adjustment period, learning to love her mom, then inevitably find out why her mom tried to kill herself all those years before.
    I've read novels where its from the POV of a child.... while I enjoyed the novel, the author's writing style doesn't inspire me. I cant really think of a book or author that I've read to use as a reference...
     
  11. Ethan321

    Ethan321 New Member

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    I feel like getting inspired is somewhat analogous to annotating a book, or even just thinking: You're always going to see something there in an idea, and you simply need the drive to explore said idea. The reason I compare it to annotating a book is that you'll often see something in a book that seems really interesting, but you only underline it or mark it about a quarter of the time. However, that's exactly the thing that spurs complex thought.
     

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