Oh boy, another blog post about rain, you’re thinking. As if we don’t have enough of them.
There’s a hole in the sky where the rain falls through, and it’s right over our heads. But no – it’s not another blog post about rain. And it is muggy, as the title says. But this post is about inspiration. It’s about being a writer – about pulling words out of your head and sticking them on paper, because that’s what writers do. We also read and reread and edit and correct and go back and do it again. But most of all, we’re sitting (or standing – I know someone who writes standing up) alone (ever try to write when someone is talking to you?) and we’re trying to get this story we have in our heads out into the world. We’re like pregnant things, gestating the story, birthing it (sometimes painful and messy), then making it look and sound good (can take years – just like a real kid!)
Once the story is out and about it’s a whole new game, with promoting and bugging family and friends to buy it (and hopefully read it, not just buy it and stick it on a shelf somewhere). But let’s rewind and go back to the part where it’s muggy and rain is falling, and there is nothing, no story, no words on the paper – just the gray sky and water falling. It’s one of those days where the light never changes. The sky looks like a flannel sheet, all soft and gray, and fat raindrops are making shiny puddles on the ground, as if they sky is making mini mirrors (that’s an alliteration). We’re back to the rainy day, and we’re sitting at our desk – alone, and we have a story to tell. Since this is a post about writing, and not about rain, I will tell you how to write a book from scratch. First, you need inspiration.
For that, you can either get it from a dream, or from an article, or from something you saw or heard. For example, I dreamed about a horse that could go through outer space. But it was being chased by Raiders. I woke up and thought about it for a while, and Riders of the Lightning Storm was born. One day, I had the idea of making an alternative history short story about Alexander the Great and it turned into a seven book series. That was the Time for Alexander series. Inspiration took over and that was it. Another time, I was at a book conference and a bunch of us were goofing off telling the most outrageous stories with someone who used to be a stripper, and we were telling zombie stories, and somehow the zombie and the stripper idea got mashed together, and Jack the Stripper was born…undead, but hey, it’s not his fault – he got killed by the Heart Taker and Jim the necromancer brought him back to life. That’s inspiration!
If you can’t get inspired, I can’t help you there – try praying to the Muses, the nine mythological sisters in charge of inspiration for the arts – poetry, painting, writing, history, etc., and maybe sacrifice a cookie and have a cup of coffee. For some reason, coffee and writers go together. The rest is work, and it’s not easy. Here’s how it goes: sit down (or stand up) and WRITE.
Easy, right? Some people write outlines. Some use flash cards. Some do a rough synopsis and use that, some people just wing it and write. Some people use characters to drive their stories, others use plot, most weave both together. The important thing is to write – simply put words out there – go on! You can do it! But beware – if you start, you must finish. You have to get all the way to “The End”. Otherwise, no matter how much you write, you won’t be a writer. You’ll be a writer-in waiting. But once you finish that book and stick “The End” on it, no matter if no one but you ever reads it and you stick it in a drawer somewhere and forget it, you’ll always be a writer. That’s inspiring.