Friday, November 16, 2007

Get Creative

I am often asked how I come up with my ideas. The short answer is - they just come to me. Something will catch my eye or an idea/question/phrase will grab my attention and my brain uses that as a springboard to launch into the fantastic world of "what if".

I long ago discarded any restraints to the "what if" world so that if the moon looks like the half-lidded yellow eye of a Dragon, I can quickly construct the outline of the Dragon circling Earth and imagine what will happend when he opens his gaping maw, jagged teeth dripping fiery venom as he lunges toward Earth...

But I digress.

The long answer is it's all about what sparks your imagination. I have a friend who loves pictures - she snaps pictures, she cuts out pictures and does collages, she uses photo shop like it's going out of style...that speaks to her. Another friend can see entire battle scenes when he listens to instrumental music. My hubby can envision a three-dimensional sculpture and create it out of cake. (and aren't I the lucky girl?!)

For me, it's a combination of visual and audio. Music inspires me. I use it when I write - at the moment I'm using mostly the soundtrack to Batman Begins but I've been known to write to Evanescence, Harry Potter, Seether, Enya, and Mozart. I can slide right into the mood of the music and let it take me where it will. I recently wrote a song while at a concert - I just kept texting phrases to my home email and I cleaned it up a few days later. I don't let location or event get in the way of a rush of creativity.

Words inspire me. I can hear a phrase and be so captivated that I will spend three pages exploring the emotional curves of those words until I wring out every last impression and satisfy myself that I've accurately transfered the weight and depth of what was in my head onto paper.

Pictures inspire me. I have a collection of images snatched from Google that catch my eye and fire my imagination. Here are a few:

Sometimes taking one idea and talking it through with my hubby or my critique partner pushes me to stretch the borders of my creativity until I reach that magical place where I know I've got something.

I think being creative comes down to knowing what speaks to you and to carving out time and space to let it run free.

Currently listening: Fuel - Something Like Human


  1. The 'what if' thing only works for me sometimes. Like, if I actively sit down and try and what if something I get nothing or a very cliched mess that is no fun at all.

    But if I'm listening to a song, and I get an image from the lyrics I build on that and can create a whole story line on the basis of that.

    I like pictures but I don't think I'm very visual, I can see an image and think 'oh, that's great for Starcrossed' but it doesn't inspire me to write something like a song or poem would.

    Question though, when you're inspired by words, so quotes or sayings or whatnot, does your writing style change to fit what has inspired you? Or do you manage to get the feelings across in your own voice?

  2. That's a good question. It used to be that if I was inspired by a phrase or quote, I would struggle to get the idea across in my own voice.

    Now, I take the phrase or idea and separate it from its context and then just let it sit in the back of my mind for a while until I start to get a feel for the shape of what I want to say.

    By the time it evolves into what I want to write, it's become so much a part of me that it's easy to convey it in my own voice. Sometimes this process takes a few months (like the initial idea for Alexa) and sometimes it take a few hours or days. I've learned not to rush my creative process because I get much better results by letting my brain run wild until everything falls in line.


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