Where do you find your inspiration?
December 20, 2015
Patricia La Vigne
WHAT INSPIRES SOMEONE to write? That question popped into my mind as I sat down with my laptop wondering what to write for this blog.
Inspiration is a marvelous quality that serves our mind in myriad ways. We can be inspired to give someone a friendly greeting, take time to spend with a child, write a letter to a family member or someone we haven’t contacted for a while, or buy a gift for a special friend. Of course, these are only a very few ideas resulting from inspirations.
Inspiration can occur spontaneously or from a period of concentration on a particular focal point, such as a painting, or a walk in the woods. It’s something easily taken for granted, and when it doesn’t happen, frustration may just take over.
Writers depend on inspiration for that opening sentence to a new novel, or article. They know editors put themselves in the place of thousands of readers when determining quality of writing. If it “grabs” their attention, chances are the general reading public will be “hooked,” too. Before that, though, writers depend on inspiration to provide them with an idea they can develop into a story.
When I was about five years old, I walked into a candy store near my grandparents’ house, and pointed out a few kinds of penny candy I wanted. The storekeeper bagged the candy and gave it to me, announcing that he wanted ten cents in return. I ran from the store, enjoyed the candy on the way to my grandparents’ house, and disposed of the evidence (the bag).
I was spending time with my grandmother that afternoon, and when I arrived , she t her house, she asked about the candy. Of course, I denied having any of the sweet stuff. Then she told me about the storekeeper calling her up and relating what happened. I still denied having done what he said. She asked why I had black around my lips. Evidently, the black licorice I enjoyed left a tell-tale mark. That incident inspired the story, Licorice Lips, which I sold a few years ago to Good Old Days magazine. By the way, I did have to take the owner a dime and the hardest part was facing him. But it was a lesson learned.
A small picture of a jockey riding a racehorse was the inspiration for my first book, Wind-Free. At a writers’ group meeting, we were asked to choose from a group of pictures, go home, and write a short story based on the picture we had chosen. By the time it was my turn to obtain the picture, the racehorse was the only one left. That resulted in a ten-page story. From there I was encouraged to write the story of a young girl, a very young horse, and the challenges each faced as they form a mutual bond.
The whirr of a room air conditioner sounded like a group of people mumbling. That was my inspiration to begin writing a mystery, which I’m still working on. The air conditioner figures into the story, although the logistics of handling how it does are still being worked out.
I’m sure every author has their own lists of inspiring ideas that have been the catalysts for a good, even great, story. Recently, I had the distinction of reviewing Secrets of the Dead by Caleb Pirtle, III. If you want to read a powerful story based on World War II, this is a must-read. Jodi Picoult also uses a World War II background for her book, The Storyteller, another powerful story. Two authors, two different inspirations, one historical background long remembered in the mind of mankind.
Inspiration is a marvelous tool. Use it well. What inspires you today to open your computer, put both hands on the keyboard, and begin to form the words that radiate from your mind and heart may be the next best-seller.