Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I'm sure that most people will tell you that they get their best ideas from talking to people they know or about things that happen in their own lives.  Others dream about things they wish would happen to them.  Somehow my inspiration comes at really random times.  Aside from closing my eyes and seeing the characters play out their own lives, as I have mentioned before, I also get weird little flashes while I'm doing something completely different than writing or thinking about writing.  I was walking up the stairs yesterday looking for a random item for Thing 1 or Thing 2 and bam, a great idea came to me.  I wasn't even thinking about my books.  How can looking for socks suddenly give you flash of brilliance that has been a plot problem for over a month?  I don't get it.  It will only be one sentence or one image and suddenly it makes hundreds of other things make sense.  It's like finding the missing dot in the connect the dot puzzle that you didn't even know was missing.  (Now the lion has a extra whisker that balances out his face better.)

My other source of inspiration is driving alone in the car, which of course is the worst place to have an idea.  I'm terrible at recording what I'm thinking.  I end up not even using what I said on tape.  Instead, I have to wait until I get to my destination and email myself on my phone the general outline.  To anyone walking past my car, it would look like I was having a texting war with someone.  I look intense and my thumbs are going a mile a minute trying to remember everything from a 30 minute car ride. 

I also find that my characters help me out as well.  As we all know this series has been sitting in my head forever and I have pictured what it looks like a million times.  Well, it took a character to enter into one of the Halls and look around and make a random comment to change something completely.  He added a history to the location that even I didn't know.  How the heck does that happen?  I have been there for 16 years and in 1 second he tells me something I never knew.  I was floored by that one.  It still gives me chills. 

I should be angry with my characters for changing my writing.  I will think about something and have this whole conversation or idea in my head and the second I put my hands on the keyboard and start writing for the character that is supposed to have the conversation, his or her voice takes over and the conversation completely changes.  Apparently they are a lot smarter than I am since their conversation comes out so much better than my original one.  I should be jealous or concerned that I'm losing my mind.  Either way, I usually happy with the result.  I find that when I write in my own voice, like in my blog, it's never as interesting as when I can channel the voice of the character.  (I usually delete what I wrote and let the character's voice win.)  It's funny when I got back and read the dialog and laugh out loud because I either forgot what I wrote, or it so completely fits the character's attitude.

The last 2 nights I've had trouble deciding on how to work a number of ideas and places into my first book.  I had to erase most of it because I hated it and it didn't feel right.  I realized that I had lost my character's voice.  Once I let them speak, I suddenly had the scene from the correct perspective and was actually able to write something decent.  What a relief.  Now if I only had the time and energy to write everything that I want to write.  I have forced myself to refocus on book one otherwise it will never get done as I play with the other books.  I'm dying to get to 12 now that I have an outline, and 8 since it doesn't seem as daunting anymore.  Even 5 would be more fun.  Sadly, you sometimes have to start at the beginning.  I have the pieces of the puzzle, I just need to get my crayons out and color them to match the rest of the puzzle. 

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