Finding Inspiration for Writing Fiction

JackLondon
I love those moments when I am so charged with inspiration for my novel that I can’t wait to get to my computer and start writing. Sometimes inspiration hits out of nowhere, but I have found a sources that consistently fuel my creativity. Here they are:

1. Books: When I hit a wall with my writing I pick up a favorite book. Reading stories I love reminds me of why I wanted to write to begin with. Also, reading books in the same genre as the one I’m writing helps me to see what has already been done and inspires me to come up with new approaches.

2. Movies and Television shows: I am huge fangirl. Particularly of anything Joss Whedon has done and the television series Supernatural. I pay attention to the scenes I love and think about how I would translate them to a novel. I also usually watch TV and movies with the subtitles on so that I’m not only hearing the dialogue but reading it too.

3. YouTube: This might sound weird to some but I love fanfiction music videos. When I begin a new novel I write out character sheets and cast the characters with real people or actors so that I have a visual reference. Sometimes I can find fanfiction videos of these actors together in similar circumstances or situations as my book. That accompanied by a good song helps me to imagine scenes in my novel coming to life and playing out like a movie.

4. Writing Group/Friends: Sometimes I have an idea that keeps spinning around my head and I can’t sort it out. These times it helps to talk to my writing group or my husband. Talking through my ideas helps me to make sense of them and usually once I’ve said them out loud I am able to figure out what is working and what isn’t.

5. Music: I have a playlist for my novel of all the songs that remind me of scenes and characters from my novel. I listen to this in my car and before I begin writing. It helps me brainstorm new ideas and elaborate on existing ones.

6. Location Scouting: A few settings in my novel are real locations others are similar to or inspired by real locations. Visiting these places can sometimes feel like taking a walk through my story. I particularly love when I am able to sit down and write in these settings. In doing so, I am also able to more accurately describe the sensory details of the place in my writing.

7. Sharing Stories:  I love listening to other people tell stories about their lives. I’m a fairly introverted person so this helps me to step outside myself and see the world from someone else’s point-of-view. Stories are also a continual source of unique character details and experiences. I never borrow anyone’s story outright (not without permission anyway) but I will borrow a detail or two–that combined with all the other stories I’ve collected, my own included, make for some interesting characters.

8. Dreams: I keep a journal by my bed and when I have one of those interesting dreams that I don’t want to wake up from, I write it down before I forget all the details. Many of my dreams have ended up in my writing.

Now I want to hear from you? Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

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26 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration for Writing Fiction”

  1. My inspirations come early in the morning between 3-6am. It amazes me that I can be lying in bed, then random thoughts come to me and I have to write immediately. Another way I am inspired is by listening to gospel music.

  2. I love that Jack London quote so much…

    I’m so glad that other people also get inspiration from TV/Movies. I always felt kind of guilty about that since it’s a different kind of media, but it really does help when I’m feeling stuck. I’m currently working my way through “Standoff” because I know I’ll be writing a hostage scene soon, and it’s been really motivating.

    The only thing I can think to add that’s not already on your list, is sometimes I draw my characters. (Not very well, mind you!) but having that visual really helps.

  3. Seriously, a little bit of everything. I got an idea once during a brief about another country’s customs, and it took my whole attention off the brief. It was a good idea, though, haha. I swear, sometimes, all it takes is the wind blowing to inspire me.

    1. Anything educational that interests me like that will make me pull out my kindle and start taking notes. I was at my in laws house the other day and a special about motorcycle gangs came on TV and I stated doing that. Took notes in a bar a few weeks ago too when I was waiting for a friend. I probably should have added something about just getting out of the house and experiencing the world or taking a class.

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