Tag Archives: Inspiration

Brain Fodder 2: Fisher Boy & Me

30 Sep

Roo smiles at me and lets the grass slip from his open palm. The torn strands catch on the faint breeze and float past me, earthless roots bobbing like tentacles on the wind. – Fisher Boy & Me, words from my WIP.

All images were collected from the lovely, inspirational site, WeHeartIt.com.

To see the first “Brain Fodder” post for my new WIP, click here.

Brain Fodder 1: Fisher Boy & Me

12 Sep

There are so many blog posts I should be doing right now. I need to finish the second part of my time at Brisbane Writer’s Festival. I need to reveal the exciting news I have to tell you (it really is quite exciting, I swear!). Right now, I can’t find the words to do those blogs justice, and that’s probably because my brain is all abuzz over what I hope will soon be my new WIP.

Below is a collection of images I’ve saved to use as inspiration for my latest work. The title is an old one now – it was what I’d originally planned the novel to be when I first starting the initial plotting months ago. But since I’ve completed ‘Times of Bright’ and come back to this, the story has evolved so much, and while I have a new title and a new plot to go with it, I don’t want to reveal too many details about it just yet (for fear of jinxing my fickle muse, and also because it could change another half dozen times before I truly start writing).

What I can say (because this has remained a constant right from the start and will continue to be a constant until I finish the drafts to come), is that this novel is a love story about a girl and a boy and fishing.

All these images I have found on WeHeartIt.com (a truly heaven-sent site full of the most beautiful pictures you will ever find anywhere).

The Beautiful Muse

13 Aug

The great thing about being a writer is that we can be inspired by anything and everything. When the words aren’t flowing (as frustrating and horrid as that can be), we can be sure that there will be a new source of inspiration waiting for us on the horizon. It might be days away, a week, maybe even a month, but we can be sure that it’s there, and that it will come.

Over the years of what I call my “serious” writing – writing with the passion and the hope of publication – my words have been inspired by so many things: other writers, classic poetry, a moment between two strangers in a shopping mall, the lyrics of a simple song, cinema, my own life.

Lately I’ve found films are inspiring me more and more. They’re planting a seed in my mind, an idea that quickly blossoms into something I know I’ll explore one day. Cinema is another passion of mine, so it’s lovely to know that the few hours I invest in a film isn’t necessarily wasted time. More often than not I’ll come away from a movie session, my mind brimming with new and wonderful ideas. And the funny thing is, most of the time the ideas I get really have nothing to do with the film I’ve just watched – they’ll have some little thing in common, like an essence, an attitude, a setting.

For example, my most recent plot idea (and one I will be exploring right after I finish the draft for “Times of Bright”) came to me while watching the final scene in “Bright Star.” If you haven’t seen the film, the scene has Abbie Cornish’s character, Fanny, walking through a wintry wood reciting the poem Keats wrote for her. My mind took the winter of the woods and before her beautiful and poignant voice had reached the end of the poem I had a whole new world erected in my mind, and characters that I was already half in love with.

I think the key to this inspiration thing is finding passion – not the kind of passion you can touch, but the kind you feel deep inside yourself, the kind you get from writing, and with the same level of intensity. And when you find your passion – whether it be from a movie or a song on the radio or the words of a best friend written on pastel paper from the fourth grade, the inspiration will come, and it won’t stop.

What kinds of things inspire you in your writing?

Books That Inspire Me

13 Jul

As writers, we all read a lot (and if we don’t then I don’t think we can truthfully call ourselves a writer, since to be a writer you are continually learning, and to learn you need to read – but enough of my soap-boxing). I’ve spoken about the things that inspire me while I’m writing a novel: music in the form of novel soundtracks, images used as brain fodder, poetry and movies and the like. But what inspires me to write in the first place?

Novels. Books. Literature. Extensions of emotion in the written form – whatever you want to call them.

Now, I can’t pick my absolute favourite. To me, being asked to choose my favourite novel is like asking a mother to choose their favourite child – it just isn’t possible. That may not be the case with all readers or authors, but it is with me. I’ve kept every single novel I have ever read. They may not be in my bookshelf, but they’re around somewhere. I just can’t bare to part with my books.

Following is a list of the books that have inspired me to write, each in their own special little way.

* The Mallory Towers Series by Enid Blyton.

I’m sure I read picture books and other small-chaptered works when I was a child, but the Mallory Towers novels really stand out in my mind as the books which ignited my passion for both reading and writing. I have such wonderful memories of these novels: I re-read them over and over until the pages turned grey from my fingers feathering the edges. They will always have a special place in my heart.

* The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

The most recent book I’ve read to make it to the list (I read it for the first time last year), this is perhaps “The Novel” that has greatly inspired my current WIP. Granted, I had two drafts done of my novel before I’d even read this book, but McCarthy’s brutal honesty and his simple, yet poetic prose is what has shaped my little novel into the story it is today. If I had to pick a favourite – if my life depended on it – then this would be the book.

* Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

This is the one novel I can read over and over again and always get something new from it. I don’t read a lot of straight romance, but Austen’s novels never fail to inspire in that regard (for me, anyway). This is a classic romance told with the decorum of the times, with a strong female lead who was perhaps ahead of her times in her boldness. Also, I simply adore Mr Darcy and want one of my own!

* The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee.

Karen’s novel opened my eyes to Australian literature. Much of what I had read before reading ‘Wings’ had been written by either American or British authors, and Karen’s simple and precise writing is the reason I seek out so much Australian talent now – because we ARE a talented writing nation and the world needs to recognise this! If you have not read this novel, you are missing out.

If I pick any more I’ll have to list my entire bookshelf, because once I start talking novels it’s pretty hard for me to stop!

What are some of your favourite novels? What inspired you to write?

Patterns in Writing

6 Jul

Current Status: Ahhhh-Chooooo! (sick)

Food Consumed: Mochachino

On The iPod: Breathe Me; Sia

Word Count: 1,800 (all longhand)

So, it’s been a while in between coherent blog posts from me, but my time away from the blog and my novel has helped me realise something about my writing: I have a writing pattern.

This isn’t exactly a big revelation, really. We all have a writing pattern – it’s what helps us create the things we do, and it’s what helps us stay sane when the insanity of writing and fatigue and brick walls sets in. My time away, though, has helped me pinpoint exactly what my pattern is. Not that knowing my pattern will help me to stay inspired when I’m hit with writer’s block, or keep me focused on my words when I’m so tired I can barely even think, let alone write or plot. It’s just interesting to know.

This is what my writing break has taught me about myself:

* My blogging and my novel-writing are co-existing. If my inspiration for one dies, than it also dies for the other. I cannot do just one, I need to do both and it needs to be simultaneous.

* If I’m writing longhand the notebook and the pages must be pretty, and I can only write with a black, 1.0mm ballpoint pen. If it’s not black and it’s not 1.0mm then the words don’t flow.

* The first draft is always easier if I write it longhand. The second and third drafts are easier if I type them straight onto the computer.

* Writing out an in-depth plot is a sure-fire way of killing my creativity. If I plot it, I cannot write it.

* Music helps me write. Images inspire me. Standing outside on a clear day and stretching my arms out makes me appreciate the gift I’ve been given more than anything else I do.

* Facebook and Twitter are distracting, but when I’m in the writing zone I can’t write without them.

* These things feed the muse: strawberry freddos, caramel fudge, Cormac McCarthy, cafe-quality mochachinos and caramel lattes, cheesecake (the baked kind), Lisa Mitchell, cream cheese muffins, Jane Austen films, hiking, the beach, freshly squeezed orange juice, being out on the water, Emily Dickinson, twirling around in my Fabled and True dress, hippy headbands worn sideways.

* I am nocturnal. I write best late at night, when the house is quiet and my iTunes playlist is blaring in my ears.

* All of my best plot ideas and kick-ass sentences come to me when I’m either a) in the shower b) in the car c) on the verge of sleep.

* Having people read and enjoy my words is the best feeling in the world. Honestly, there’s no competition.

* Alcohol and hangovers do not help (thought that’s kind of a given). Migraines make me cranky, not because of the pain but because I’m losing out on precious writing time. And the worst migraines always strike when I’m at my most productive.

I’m sure I can think of more, but that’s enough realistion met for one day.

What has your writing taught you? What are the things you cannot write without? Please share in the comments.

Brain Fodder 4 (Times of Bright)

25 Jun

As the sun dips low, signalling the end of another day in this new and desolate world, the same five words swirl in my mind, back and forth like a metronome: the world is a disease. To me, right now, it is the God-honest truth. – Times of Bright, words from my work-in-progress.

To see other visual inspiration posts for this novel, click here, and here (and here).

All images taken from WeHeartIt.com.

When The Inspiration Fades

24 Jun

Current Status: Under-caffeinated (aka lethargic)

Food Consumed: Mini quiches

On The iPod: Infinity Guitar; Sleigh Bells

Word Count: 715 +

There always comes a time in every new writing project when the “honeymoon” period ends and you’re left feeling flat and, basically, uninspired. For a long time I struggled through these lulls in inspiration and words. I was angry with myself, and so most of the time I wasn’t much fun to be around. I punished myself murderously for the drying up of my words, for losing interest in the story, for wishing I’d never bothered to pick up the pen (or laptop, as the case may be) in the first place. Sometimes my writing block would last a few days, other times weeks. On a few occassions, it’s even been months.

How did I break through the word drought?

Back then, I honestly don’t know. I had no tricks up my sleeve. Literally. All I could manage to do was write the words when they came to me and then spend those times when they didn’t supremely pissed off at myself. I wrote, I fell in love with my words. I stopped, and then I hated them. It was a vicious cycle – and you’ll hear me refer to writer’s block in this sense a lot on this blog, because it is a vicious cycle – and I couldn’t seem to break it no matter how hard I tried to put the words on the pages.

So, what’s changed now?

A lot of things. I’m older, for a start. Not that I think age has anything to do with it, but from my aging has come experience, and I have a certain “wisdom” about the craft that I didn’t have when I started to get really serious with my writing, even a year ago. I’ve also met a lot of great people through various online communities (though mostly through Twitter and Facebook) that have helped me to hone my skills, either through encouragement or little tips that they’ve offered me along the way.

Mostly, though, my attitude towards my writing, and writing in general, has changed. I attended my first writing conference in May, and the day of workshops really helped open my eyes about where I was headed and what I wanted to get out of my writing. Now I’m more serious about my writing than I’ve ever been before, and I know through the experience of the workshops and the feedback I have received from my writing peers that I have the skills to take me as far in the publishing industry as I want to go – I have confidence, and that’s something I’ve not had until now.

Confidence is truly a writer’s best friend. Without it, we’ll be doomed to be amateurs forever!

So, what do I do when the inspiration fades?

I take my iPod and my novel’s playlist and I lie on the bed and just listen. I’ve chosen that particular list of music for a reason, so if it doesn’t inspire me to re-visit my novel then there’s no point even having the playlist, because that’s the only reason to create one in the first place.

I look over my visual inspiration posts on my blog and then I close my eyes and let my mind wander. If I’m really stuck I’ll turn my playlist on and just stare at the pictures so that I’m saturated with inspiration from both mediums.

I tweet or email or text or call – or all of the above! – my critique partner and let her know where I’m stuck and ask for suggestions. Sometimes the best medicine for a slow scene is a once-over by another set of eyes.

I write a poem from the POV of my characters. This is something I’ve only started to do (at the suggestion of my CP), and I’m having marvellous results with it. I promise to post the poems once they are finished, but to tell you the truth, I don’t even have one complete yet because I’ve rushed back to the manuscript so fast! (At least it’s working!)

What do you do when “The Block” sets in? Please share any tricks and tips you may have for beating writer’s block so I can add them to my list!