When Inspiration Strikes
Inspiration strikes at the weirdest moments and in places you would not expect, which is why it’s important to hoard all sorts of experiences and information, no matter how mundane.
I’m very visual, so a great place to find visual inspiration is Instagram. National Geographic, NASA, museums, artists, etc., all hang out on Instagram. With the new saved photos and collections feature, you can save any photo to your account and break them up into collections.
A lot of authors use Pinterest, which is kind of similar to Instagram Collections. I have a Pinterest account and tried to use it for inspiration, but ultimately, it just wasn’t right for me. I would binge-Pinterest if that’s a thing? Get on, pin a bunch of things then not look at it for weeks, which did not aid in inspiring me.
Here are a few ways I find plot inspiration:
Information-wise, podcasts are by far my favorite media to consume. Podcasts are a straight vein into society’s injustices. Say you’re writing a race of creatures. Those creatures are going to have a history. Where they’d come from? Are they treated equally? Do they look a different way?
Podcasts tell the stories of people on this planet and the struggles they’ve had to overcome. They’re a good way to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and attempt to understand a fraction of what they’re feeling. That feeling is what you need to convey in your writing when you create a creature race. Try Code Switch podcast. Side note: maybe someday I will write an article without waxing poetic about my love for podcasts. Stay tuned.
- Current events/News:
My novel the Isle is heavily influenced by the USA’s current political climate. In the Isle, an unqualified, underdog with ulterior motives is voted into office. I’m doing my best to capture the motives of the people; both those who voted for the person and who opposed the person. I took a look at our current politics, but also looked back at infamous dictatorships to direct the story.
I traveled to Ireland/Scotland six months ago. Obviously, inspiration wasn’t the only factor in going there, but I wanted to go there and experience the culture I decided to write about. Honestly, I didn’t get as much inspiration as I expected to, which goes to show you don’t have to experience something to write about it.
However, the memories I made and things I felt while traveling with friends and experiencing historical and natural spectacles is something I won’t get ever again. And, conveying those feelings are what makes your readers feel—pouring those feelings of wonder, sadness, anger into the words is what makes good writing. Also, I scored some pretty awesome books about Celtic lore and Celtic history in Scottish bookshops. Unrelated to writing, but on topic: I use the app Hopper to find travel deals. That’s how I found a $600 flight to Dublin.
All of the aforementioned books from Scotland are on myths and legends. The human brain can’t create something from scratch. It can use elements from different sources to create something, but it can’t create something it’s never seen. Insert myths and legends! Creatures and stories are fantastic framework or fodder for your writing! Repurpose an old myth. Or use a creature from legends in one of your novels. They’re honestly perfect, and I think it adds to the novel that there’s an actual history surrounding aspects of your novel. Kind of like eastereggs for your readers to find.
I own several of The Element Encyclopedia books, which I find super helpful. However, these books are great for INSPRIATION. If you need to research a topic and find factual information, look elsewhere.
- Conspiracy theories:
Holy crap, I can and have spent hours tunneling down the dark conspiracy theory holes of the interwebs. There is so much CRAP! Someone, somewhere has an opinion about something. Which, in my opinion makes for some fantastic plot ideas. You want to write about alien life? There’s a theory for that. Government cover-up? Yep, theory for that too. Princess Diana not really dead? Of course.
I hope you have a few hours to spare. Start here: https://www.infowars.com
Where and how do you find inspiration?