What Inspires Your Muse?

Yesterday was the first day of summer. We enjoyed the spring as we planted our flowers and appreciated the warmer air. Now we’re thinking about the beach and Fourth of July picnics. How many of our stories incorporate the sights, smells and experiences of the change of the seasons?

What does your writing space look like? Is it conducive to helping you crank out those pages in the morning? I’m enjoying the fact that my writing space is much improved since I moved to Colorado. There is a definite improvement in my productivity.

What inspires your muse? Is it your writing space, having your dog curled up at your feet, having a hot cup of coffee next to your computer, or maybe a photo of what you perceive your new protagonist to look like.

Sound seems to be a big one for a lot of writers. Some like complete silence, others like running water; still others are inspired by smells. Recently I’ve become enamored of aerosolized essential oils. I’ve always loved good smells but now I have blends that inspire specific moods. Even better.

Another thing for me is … wait for it … weather. Yeah, I’m a weather geek. It seems I moved to the right state for that. I heard someone say today, “If you use the heater and the AC in the same week, you live in Colorado.” So true. How about the same day? Today started at 59 degrees, will go up to 95, then back to 59. We will start with sun and end up with thunderstorms.

I feel inspired during a good thunderstorm. Clouds and wind, and even the presence of snow is inspiring. I consider how my characters fare in different weather environments. Did I mention I was a federal disaster worker? The aftermath of tornados, earthquakes and hurricanes are my livelihood. My current WIP has rain, flooding, an earthquake and a whole lot of hot California days.

What inspires your muse? I’d love to hear your favorite thing that gets the creative juices flowing.

Inner Demons

 

One of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Lamb, recently shared a post about plotting inner demons in your writing. Inner Demons Shining Meme

But I don’t write about exorcisms, you say. Well, I don’t either – or at least I haven’t yet – but that’s not what she was referring to.

What Kristen, in her awesome writing brilliance, discussed was plotting your characters in a believable way. In other words, if someone is an alcoholic in your story, having that character talking or whining about their addiction all the time is going to bore your reader. To tears.

Cry Meme

The best writers know how to illustrate a problem in glimpses without overwhelming or annoying their readers. If you’ve ever met someone or know someone who gripes about their problems – even if that problem is truly horrible – all day, then you probably try to avoid that person whenever possible. If on the other hand you know someone who has acted out of character, has had alcohol on their breath, and over a period of weeks they break down and tell you they have a drinking problem, you’re much more likely to feel sympathetic.

One of my favorite writers, Nora Roberts – especially when she writes suspense as JD Robb – is perfect at this. Her main heroine, Eve Dallas, is portrayed up front as a hardass cop. She’s intelligent, shrewd, and fabulous at catching the bad guys. But… she’s plagued with nightmares. Not just the kind you wake up from and within a minute drift back off, but the kind that make you scream and sob in your sleep. Over the course of her series, we learn more and more about Eve and why she has these nightmares – she is a victim of some horrific child abuse. But Nora doesn’t have Eve go around complaining about her past, not ever. Instead, Eve deals with it the best she can, and only in brief little spurts of memories or flashbacks do we see the real damage done to her.

Kristen Lamb Writing Meme

 

When I first starting writing, plotting was – and still is – the hardest thing for me. I’m not one to sit down and write out a twenty page outline, but I know what I want to happen. Still, one mistake I used to make all the time was explaining how my characters felt instead of showing how they felt. I also tended to drone on about it for far too long. Characters facing their inner demons is kind of like back story, you need to dribble in a little bit here and there, not all at once.

Inner Demons Humor

Since I love to write drama, angst and inner demons, I’m also drawn to writers who are really good at writing it. Do you like reading about characters with inner demons? If so, who is your favorite author(s)? Tell us in the comments below! 🙂

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