Peta Crake - what can I say... another talented Australian author of the paranormal. Please welcome her as she describes another two faces of inspiration.
Take it away, Peta!
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Enchanted orb sounds so lovely doesn't it? Sort of light and ethereal. Inspiration can be like that, floating down out of the ether to caresses you with a hint of an idea. Other times it can come crashing down on you like a ten tonne wrecking ball, smashing an idea, so vivid and real, into your brain you question if it isn't a memory. It brings life to a halt, nothing gets done, you can think of nothing else until you record the new idea to the ‘ball's’ satisfaction. Then it disappears leaving you slightly shell-shocked and overflowing with enthusiasm.
So what releases the inspiration bubble or wrecking ball?
For me it would have to be music. I've lost count of the number of times I have been driving along listening to the radio when a song has sent a scene or line of dialogue flashing through my mind. A scene in my latest work was inspired by a Leonard Cohen song called A Thousand Kisses Deep (based on the poem For Those Who Greeted Me). Another time, a song on the radio led me to create a whole society based around a crashed spaceship and the passengers it contained. The best part is, when I want to renew the inspiration, all I have to do is listen to the song again.
New, unfamiliar words can also send my imagination off in different directions. Last year, a simple writing challenge for my critique group, where we had to write a short story using five random words, led to the creation of one of my favourite characters yet. Now, every time I hear the word, discombobulated, I think of her and her story.
Surroundings can also inspire me. The first novel-length story I ever wrote started when I saw a beam of sunlight shine through the clouds and hit the forested side of a mountain. It became the opening scene. My debut novel, Harbinger, was inspired by the city in which I live and the place where I grew up. Sometimes, looking at the familiar as if you were a stranger can make all the difference.
Ok, I have to admit, everyday mundane things like cleaning the house can also send little bubbles of ideas fizzing through my mind. Although I'm not sure if that is due to the exercise or just the desire to be doing something else.
I would have to say, the one thing that made the biggest difference to the flow of inspiration was admitting to myself that I was a writer. From that moment on, inspiration came to me from all directions. From music, words, the environment, documentaries, conversations, the news and exercise.
So when people ask me where my ideas come from, I am tempted to say “from the right frame of mind”. If you are open to ideas and inspiration, it will come to you. You just have to make sure you don't erect a force field around your imagination so thick you miss the gentle caresses of the enchanted orbs or send the wrecking balls of inspiration careening off to smash into the ground.
What about you? Does inspiration strike you with the soft fluttering touch of a butterfly’s wings or does it wallop you like a herd of stampeding elephants?