I remember reading one of Stephen R. Donaldson’s author’s notes many years ago, in which he talked about his writing methods and his ways of doing things. He spoke of how he’d often have a good idea here, and a good idea there–but they’d both just sit around, inert, doing little. But then, sometimes, he’d end up combining them–one discrete idea with another–and suddenly the pairing would come to life, start flowing and forming into a novel, or indeed, even a series (I vaguely remember that the actual word he used was “gusher”).
Over the years, I’ve realised that I’m actually the same way. I’ll have random ideas all the time, but any given idea will never quite come to life until it ends up being combined with some other idea of mine. Put’em together and voila! you have self-replicating cells. Life. A story–embryonic at first but rapidly growing, filling out, and developing, until it’s ready to be written.
Given that, I’m always looking for inspiration. Ideas, that I can try out in combination with other ideas, until something connects, and the magic happens. Over the past days, I’ve been searching for such inspirations and sources–and when I’ve found promising pieces, I’ve been tweeting them. I’ve decided to compile some of the tweeted links here each week (or so), as a kind of digest of writing prompts, ideas for composition, and images that might get your (or my) creative juices flowing.
I’m totally loving these steampunk insects… gorgeously done. In what kind of story might they appear? What kind of character would create them, and why–for the their intrinsic beauty and elegance? Or for more sinister purposes–to spy, pass along covert messages, or worse?
Cool list of journal (or journal entry) ideas. I like that some of them hone in on things that I would normally take for granted. The beginnings of so many good stories can be found in a small paradigm shift–a moment of seeing what seems like the mundane or everyday, in a new way. I may print the list & glue it into my journal for inspiration (if I can get my printer working properly, that is)…
Some interesting ideas for breaking down writers’ block and getting through the “stuck” moments. I really like that they’re also paradigm shifters, but of a different sort (e.g. having 100 ideas means that you get things flowing, rather than trying to get the one, brilliant “right” idea. Once you’ve got things flowing, you can chose the best from the list, and start refining them).
From Nuit Blanche TO. The artwork is called: “I know that something good is gonna happen” (cool Kate Bush reference, which made me predisposed to like the piece… but I would have loved this one even if it had a far less engaging title). I snapped this shot of my husband walking through the installation (the same image as the one illustrating this post), which basically consisted of fake rain and angled lights. The concept was a re-envisioning of the banal (a rainy day)–using cinematic techniques. The result was lovely and evocative, and also seemed to fit well with the idea of these writing prompt posts–creating a doorway to creativity by seeking the wondrous in the banal or the everyday. And so again, ask yourself: where is this person going? Who is he? Why is he going there?
These staircases feel a little like real-life riffs on Escher (at least some of them do–others are way cooler). They all make me wonder where they would lead. What kind of place would they be in, and who might have to use them on a regular basis? This is another writing prompt that is about seeking inspiration by beginning with a setpiece and filling out the surrounding circumstances from there…
So those are some highlights from this week (for more, follow me on twitter, @writekatanthony)! I hope some of them get your creative juices flowing!