Friday, January 28, 2011

Literary Contractions

It's quite funny how when you're in the writing mode, inspiration can come from the strangest of places.

Three years ago, when thinking up ideas for a project I wanted to create for my best friend, all it took was a piano player, who was so dedicated to his work that it was positively moving.

Before that, when recreating the idea of Cinderella, it took a documentary of women of the Medieval court.

And even earlier, for my very first full length pet project, a simple line came from the top of my head while I was daydreaming. That one line became the basis for an entire story.

So my current project...the one that has caused me so much joy and grief over the past few years...where did the inspiration come from that?

Cracker Barrel.

Here me out, now. It wasn't the comfort food restaurant itself that provided the inspiration. Rather, it was while I was staring out the window by the table I was sitting at with my parents. A shooting star fell across the sky and it seemed as if something in my mind clicked. I gave a meaning, a name, to that star. And soon an entire story came.

Whilst I cannot reveal the plot of my story (because anything can be public domain on the interwebz) what I can say is that it involves that star.

What brings me to talking about inspiration tonight? The idea actually came across my mind while toiling away at work today. In my hayday of writing, inspiration used to come every few hours, if not closer together. I like to refer to them as literary contractions. They're there for a fleeting moment, and the more you have them, the closer you get to having a baby--in this case, a story of your own making.

Alas, the inspirations were not always that great. In fact, they hardly ever were. My mind would sometimes be concentrating so hard on these, that I forgot to create the world that surrounded it. My old harddrive can attest to all the few paragraph writings that I did, with just a brief explanation or quote of what I had thought about.

A "good" idea came only once in a blue moon. But when it did, it was quite difficult for me to create anything else outside of this world. The literary contractions stopped, and the words began to push.

I started the story I'm currently working on in late 2007 (or maybe sometime in's all begun to run together). It was written concurently with the story for my very best friend, being pushed to the wayside while I concentrated on that. Obviously, a great deal of time has passed, and only a couple hundred pages (whilst a great feat) have been written so far.

And I realized today that I haven't had an inspiration since this story began its inception. To me, that makes this story of such a higher importance than I had initially thought.

So my message to all of you? Well, like it's said "anyone can write a blog"... I'm not going to try and retool that to "anyone can write a story" because, to be perfectly honest, that's not true.

What I will say, however, is that, whatever your passion is, whatever makes your heart beat a little bit faster just thinking about...look for the inspiration. If it comes frequently, play with it. And once you have something that sticks, you'll know it.

Pleasant dreams, dearest reader.


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