Monday, June 14, 2010

Inspiration Strikes

Yesterday, sometime after the Season 3 opener of True Blood and well beyond my I-have-to-work-tomorrow bedtime, the infamous 9:07pm (someday I'll be able to follow Tami's awesome example and write full time - for now I live vicariously through her), I sat at my desk chair for a few minutes. Not writing. Not editing. Not hanging out on Twitter. I simply observed the stuff I had around my office – propped up on shelves or tacked up on my bulletin board.

Torn pieces of patterned paper, notes scrawled on envelopes or napkins, swag postcards with funky artwork, Halloween candy wrappers, wolf images, gem-coloured glass bottles, fake tombstones, plastic (black) roses, ribbon cuttings, etc…

How does a random piece of fancy paper contribute to my writing?

Well, when I’m stuck for words, or am halfway through a scene and inspiration goes on strike – I look around the room. There’s a tale etched in each piece on display. Each element of my menagerie invokes a mood or seems to wear a story – or multiple stories – that I’m compelled to try and tell.

Don’t get what I mean?

Try this….look at the following images, photos I took of moments/settings/objects that seemed to have a story. (Besides collecting physical objects, photography is a fantastic way to capture ideas/moods). What are the first three words you think of as you glance at each one in turn? Now imagine the person who lives in this world. What’s their story?

From one item, or picture, I can imagine numerous plot lines, character traits, visualize settings, time periods, etc. A whole world can be created around just the right piece. Thankfully, I don’t hoard. I purge my collection every few months – leaving room for new stories.

I love this room, my writer's cave, with yet to be discovered worlds all around me.


Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Cool idea! Thanks for sharing the tip. I'm going to pop this in to our weekly Best Articles This Week for Writers on Friday, if you don't mind.



Tami Klockau said...

Awesome post, Trace! It's amazing what helps ideas pop into your head. It takes one image or even just a scene you observe between two people at a coffee shop to come up with a full story idea. There are times that I just stare off into space. It my not look like I'm working, but sometimes that's when most of my work is being done.

Tracy Belsher said...

Martina - I'd be honoured, thanks! Your blog is a feast of writerly awesomeness.

Tami - I know that vacant, stare into space thing - so does Shawn....he's learned to just walk away at that point. Tracy is no longer in the building. ;)