Inspiration: Inspiration is something personal of course, and so it should be, because it’s something that gets your mind going and makes you write. I’ve probably been writing poetry since i was about 13, and a lot of my poems are on love, unrequited and lost love and as of recently, true love. So that all came natural, a bunch of feelings poured onto the page in rhyme form, from experiences of my love life. Rather it be a guy I cared for, one I wanted to be with, or my best works, from the love I have and share with my husband of 3 years. I’ve been asked so many times how do I write poems so easily? Easy? Sometimes (I wanna laugh on how simple it could be.) But I for one have to be inspired when it comes to poetry. Only on rare occasion have i just written a poem without it coming from my own feelings.
Then there’s my works of fiction…On some level I have to be inspired, yes. But for me it feels like ideas are always flowing through my mind, even while I’m working on a different book or story. And with my novels and short stories I actually can sit down and pop out some kind of writing, with or without true inspiration behind the piece. The difference is, rather or not it’s my best work. Probably not, no. But it is practice in wording, grammar, spelling…all the little basics down to character building.
Writer’s Block: I’m sure we’ve all had it and I’ve been asked by other friends who write, how do I get passed my own writer’s block. One of my worst forms of writer’s block is to start a novel or story and not go back to it for the reason of being stuck mid story. Funny enough, I find if i set the piece aside and work on something else, then go back and re read what i had done on the “writer’s block” piece, I’ll be re reading and go “Oh yeah, that’s where I was going with this one….” And suddenly I’m back to work on the one story I got stuck on. And when that doesn’t work, the only advice I have is not to scrap the piece, but rework it. Rather reworking it means starting over with the idea and making it work, or using the whole idea in a new way. Maybe the whole storyline sucked (be honest with yourself) but the characters are well-developed and are so great that you’re attached to them and they must have their own fiction world in your library of work. Scrap the storyline and rework those great characters in a new one that will become something to love. Yeah, reworking the storyline will be daunting, maybe seem overwhelming, but I’m betting the end result is something you love so much that it becomes something so much more than just a novel or story to you. I guess all of this is my remedy to writer’s block. Another is the advice we all know, write anything, just to keep yourself writing and honing skills. Good advice? Yes, of course. And simple to do. Even writing a journal or blog can be a form of honing those skills.
Write what you know: While this is the most basic and realistic advice there is, I fight this theory to a point. Now let’s not go dramatic and per-say try to write a non fiction book on “Being Mommy,” if your a man who has no children and doesn’t know the first thing about parenting. That’s a model for write what you know. However, fiction opens us up to a world of huge possibilities where we’re able to stretch the limits and boundaries within reason. I don’t have to know what it’s like to be a Detective and to hunt down a serial killer, if my research and imagination can give the reader a realistic book w/o the experience behind “being” my character, and having walked in her shoes. Am I saying fiction allows you to skip the write what you know rule? No. A part of me goes into each and every book or short story I write. Simple things, do I know what it’s like to deal with sibling rivalry? Yes I do (I grin looking at my two dueling sons.) Do I know how it feels to need coffee just to start my day? Yes! (I am so grouchy if I haven’t had that first cup.) It’s obvious how those two simple things help me write something I know. My Detective lead character feels grumbly and lost without her caffeine fix. As for the sibling rivalry example, that one opens up plenty of ideas based on life situations. So, yeah write what you know, what you don’t know you can research and even sometimes stretch the limits.
Wow just when I thought I could end this thought, another one hits, same topic…
Write what you know probably is one of the biggest, most heard and best given advice, ok I won’t fight that point. and yet as a writer we are challenged with writing and creating believable characters, even when the character may be completely unlike us. How do we do that? (fake screams) Best advice I ever read was to study people…how they walk, talk and behave with others. And if you know them personally, how they react to certain situations. Every morning when i drop my son off at school, i have at least 20 mins before my ride picks me up. People watching time! Now that could sound so creepy yes, but remember I’m talking about observation. Everyday some of the same people pass by my son’s school. Rain or shine, one passerby is always on his unicycle. (he would make a good character basis) My advice, grab onto any little observation like my example and boom you just may have the start of a character, or a quirk for a character you have already modeled. Don’t be afraid to at least stretch that old “write what you know,” rule.
well that’s my thoughts for now.