About inspiration

Something happened this week that made me consider the mechanics of inspiration.  Did I say mechanics?  Maybe magic is more like it.  How else can you account for flights of fancy that start with fingernail polish and lead to a whole new story in my head, complete with main characters, secondary characters, conflicts and a rough story arc?  It defies logic, or anything so mundane as mechanics.

Okay, this is how it happened.  I have a bad habit of bending my fingernails backwards with my teeth until they split or break, then worrying them until they’re gone.  My plan was to put nail-strengthening polish on them to make them tougher, so they wouldn’t break as easily.  I don’t like the feel of polish on my teeth, so it was a good reminder to leave them the heck alone.

It worked!  My nails are the longest they’ve ever been.  Then my youngest daughter decided they needed color.  I asked what color but she said not to worry.

I worried.

After I rid my nails of the clear polish and worked at my cuticles a little, I put out my hand to her and held my breath.  The polish was red.  I mean red.  The last time I had that much color on my nails – well, I think maybe Regan was President.  She did a good job, and it looked great.

When I was describing it to some friends and co-workers in instant messages, I told them I couldn’t remember the brand or the name of the color but it was the color of blood.  More, it was the color of clotted blood.  I could tell, because it exactly matched the cat scratch on my thumb I’d gotten earlier that day from one of our kitties.  As we talked, I held a hand up in front of me.  Maybe it’s because of the number of fantasy and paranormal books I read, but my brain went from the red of the fingernail polish to the red of clotted blood to teens and vampires, and within 2 days and some brainstorming with my friends it had evolved into a full-blown story ready to start putting to paper.

Another story’s inspiration was a dream.  I swear I dreamed the entire story and woke up so excited, but by the time I got some of it written down, I’d forgotten the rest.  I had to work that out myself – meaning the conscious me.  Now I always keep a pen and tablet beside the bed.  I have written another 3 story ideas in it since then.

I also keep a tablet in my purse.  Years ago it was a little black book, about three by five inches.  The one I carry these days is a stenographer’s spiral notebook.  What can I say?  I carry a bigger purse now.  Sometimes I write quotes I happen to overhear in it, sometimes little character studies, and sometimes ideas about a work already in progress.

What kinds of things have been your inspirations?  Add a comment, I can’t wait to hear!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. whiteravensoars
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 16:24:44

    You know, it’s interesting, but just the other night I had a dream and woke up and HAD to write it down. It was just screaming at me that it will be a great story idea… And thank the Goddess I am not the only crazy who keeps a HUGE notebook in my… well I think I have to call it a knapsack. It’s just too big to be a purse, lol. Of course, the notebook is the reason I carry a bigger sized bag, well that and my mini laptop. Hey, you never know where inspiration (I mean magic) is going to strike! And it could be any moment!!!

    I also love to people watch. Really I mean is there anything better than sitting in a waiting room and listening in to people’s conversations?!? It is amazing to me, what some people will talk about in public. I have created some great character sketches that way.

    I am sure that magic strikes rather randomly too. You can be in the middle of what you have planned for your writing and you know, ten pages later the story has taken you over!


  2. WhitneyCarter
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 19:37:53

    Lol, I keep a notebook by the bed and in my purse too. I’ve had some nights where I wake up with ideas and simply can’t go back to sleep until I’ve gotten them on paper. It’s like my brain knows I won’t remember come morning.

    I get ideas from random places, but mostly watching people and creating situations around them. Or from images if I’m feeling visual. Talking to a variety of people helps too.


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