Friday, February 1, 2013

A Trail of Ideas

Photo by Melanie Martinelli
One of the most common questions I am asked with regards to my writing is, 'where do you get your ideas?' Inspiration for a full length novel as a whole can come from various sources, such as dreams, historical facts that send of the imagination, or a particular set of circumstances that make me think 'what if?'
 
But lately, I've been noticing another kind of leading. The kind of inspiration that happens throughout the process of writing a story. Like a trail of sweet breadcrumbs which lead me on to the next tantalising idea and so on.
 
Sometimes it can be a photo I happen across on Facebook which could be applied to the current scene in my book. Or someone tells me a little anecdote which fits perfectly with my character's life, perhaps with a slight change or two. Even a song on the radio might have lyrics which stir something I can use in my story.
 
Then there are the ideas that come from sitting in church, listening to the sermon. It may sound rather irreligious (Amanda, weren't you paying attention in church?!), but sometimes I realise the message could be applied to my character's current issues and I see, all of a sudden, how he/she can deal with them.
 
It amazes me that all these tiny details seem to happen right when I need them in my current work in progress. Perhaps it is the Holy Spirit's guidance in some instances. And I guess, in some ways, it comes from always having my novel burning gently in the background of my consciousness, no matter what I'm doing.
 
So, how about you? What kind of things lead your story onward, developing it and giving it depth?


Amanda Deed resides in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne where she fills her time with work, raising a family, church activities and writing historical romance novels. Her new novel, Black Forest Redemption, was released on the 1st of October, 2012. For more information, see:
http://www.amandadeed.com.au/
http://amanderings.wordpress.com/

9 comments:

  1. I think that sometimes the characters themselves choose what happens next. They seem to have a life of their own and take their story were it wants to go, as Madeleine L'Engle used to say - although of course that can't happen unless I cooperate! And like you, Amanda, I do believe the Holy Spirit is part of it all. We belong to such a creative God whose Spirit lives in us, so surely this must impact how we write in all sorts of ways. Sometimes when I have been in the middle of writing, I find myself saying out loud, 'Lord, is this right? Is this where you want the story to go?' Perhaps that's weird, but it sure is a wonderful experience!

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    1. Yes, my characters seem to have a life of their own too - on top of all the other leadings. The other day one of my characters was being very secretive about something in her posession. After a couple of days of wondering why, she finally let it slip - she'd once been an exotic dancer. Aha! :)

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  2. I too am amazed Amanda at the trail of ideas and inspirations that are a part of a writer's life. Aren't we blessed? I also find that it's as we write more and more that the ideas come even more easily. The 'use it or lose it' philosophy for writers! :)

    And no - makes perfect sense that even a sermon can bring inspiration your way. Go for it! :) Me too,
    Anusha

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    1. Thanks Anusha. It is a blessing to be able to incorporate everyday life and experiences into your writing. :)

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  3. For me, inspiration comes when I'm reading history. I wonder what the people who lived through a particular time period would have wanted, how they might have looked for it, and what could have happened next. I don't dare read too many history books right now ... the ideas are just too many for me to juggle. But what a sweet affliction. :)

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    1. A sweet affliction indeed. History books do seem to set the fuse alight, don't they. Explosions of ideas. It's too much to handle sometimes. :)

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  4. So true Amanda. As the Lord's ambassadors He wants us to write to touch people's hearts. And His Holy Spirit really does inspire us to find the right words when we ask believing. I seem to find his whispers come in the night hours when my mind is not thinking of a thousand other things. Even to correcting something I've already written. Even so we're not like a medium passively writing what is dictated. He simply encourages us to use the gifts he has given us. And as all you writers know, that means we need to work at it.

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    1. Yes Rita, the still moments leave you wide open for inspiration, don't they? My imagination goes crazy when everything is quiet. :)

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  5. Sometimes it can be an article or paragraph in a newspaper or a picture or just an idea that appears out of nowhere while writing. Shows you are listening in church when it provides further writing fodder for a character, Amanda. I get that sometimes too.

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