Inspiration. We all get inspired. Where does is come from? Is it beautiful places or motivational speakers? Maybe it’s eloquent words in a book, or larger than life characters in movie or newspaper article. Sometimes it’s the elderly couple holding hands at a bus stop as you sit waiting for the stoplight to change, and sometimes it’s a single blade of gold falling softly into a bed of autumn leaves as you walk to the train station. The moment can convey a high that carries you through the day or even stimulates the epiphany for a lifestyle change, or it can be as fleeting as a dream on the edge of wakefulness, vibrant and lifelike in one moment and then gone the next.
As writers, we are always looking for moments we can use. And we have to take them, fleeting or heart pounding, and start asking, “what if . . .?” For mystery writers, the “what if” can get pretty twisted, let me tell you. But it’s only by asking that question can we turn an ounce of inspiration into a character, a scene and sometimes an entire story. It’s like the game I used to play when I traveled a lot for work. I’d sit in airports and to pass the time, I’d watch people, trying to guess their professions. I’d put together entire biographies, many, I’m sure, much more interesting than reality.
Recently, I was out researching a new young adult book with my writing partner, Lesley Downie. (I’ll blog more on working with a writing partner later.) It helped that the day was gloomy and cold, but coming across this desolate road, abandoned bridge and lonely gated property provided a mountain of inspiration. I’m sure you can imagine; the “what if” possibilities came out of the woodwork.
Where do you get your inspiration, and what do you do with it?
Road to nowhere
Bridge to trouble