Friday 24 June 2011

Friday Fives: Creative Inspiration

Every week, the lovely people over at Paper Hangover give a blog prompt to help those of us who, very occasionally, run out of ideas for posts. This week they want to know: What are the five things that get your creativity juices flowing? Because Paper Hangover is predominantly YA, I'll be listing things that help me write YA urban fantasy, rather than my other genre, women's contemporary fiction.

1. Music: When I get stuck in a scene, I find playing music can jog my brain. Maybe it's because music appeals on an emotional level? 

2. Rain: I find that I get inspired by the rain, and I find it easier to get write on cold, damp days. Good thing I live in Ireland then.

3: Reading history and mythology: I find that my YA fiction depends more on my university education than my adult fiction does. The political situation in Ravensborough is inspired by historical research, and my steampunk WIP is based in an alternative Victorian era, a period I've specialised in. So non-fiction comes into play.

4: Eavesdropping: It's amazing how many ideas you can pick up from listening to people talk in public. Not that I would lift an idea completely, but if gives you a starting point. Then you ask 'what if...' and a plot strand begins to take shape.

5: Life: This sounds like a bit of a cop out, but it really isn't. The more things you do, people you meet, and places you see, the more your imagination grows. Like any living thing, creativity needs fuel.

What about you guys? What inspires you?


  1. I used to be a waitress, and I found SO many ideas by eavesdropping on the conversations of people I was serving.

  2. Life's challenges, the ones that make you stretch and grow. Becoming stronger makes your writing voice stronger. It works for me every time.

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  4. Oh, you and I so live in the right places for #2! I wonder how productive I'd be if i lived say, in California? I do love me some rain when I'm writing.

    And #4 is a great one, too! Some of the best ideas I've had, have come from being out and about (particularly coffee shops and the mall) and listening to others conversations. Especially if it's teenagers! Man, it's also a great way to make me feel really old! :)

  5. Oh! And dreams! Dreams often give me a great scene to build an entire story around. A dream journal is a must.

  6. Good point about life. It's important to study that for ideas and such. I don't know how I feel about rain being on your list though. All that wants me to do is curl into a blanket and drink tea. LOL

  7. Oh, there IS something about rain that puts me in a writing/reading mood! But I can't take too much of it. Makes me depressed. Haha.

    Reading really great writing inspires me. It makes me want to do better.

  8. I *love* to listen to the rain. It's so calming. I feel I can really engage with my creativity. All those days of rain back home in England were very helpful!

  9. I don't usually do research, but today I had to, and it really got my thoughts whirring. ^_^

    Another one is people watching.

  10. I love writing while it's raining. Makes me want to write more descriptively for some reason. Now if only I could get a fake skull candle holder and a stuffed raven. Hmm. :P

  11. Oooh, life is such a great answer! I love your list...but the rain puts me to sleep more than giving me ideas :(

  12. I had music too! I can't believe I forgot rain! That's why I'm always tweeting how happy I am when it rains! I feel like it sparks my creativity. :)

  13. @Rachel: I used to work as a waitress in a pub, and I used to hear lots of good stories. Of course, back then I didn't write, so it was nosiness rather than research.
    @Emily: This is so true. If you haven't been through hard times, how can you empathise with your characters?
    @Erin: Eavesdropping is crucial. The great thing about being a writer is that you can justify it! Well, kind of.
    @Alicia: I like to curl up with tea too, but if I did that every time it rained in Ireland I'd get nothing done. Right now we're getting more rain than they do in Forks.
    @Krispy: Reading great writing makes me want to write better too. That or cry and my own lack of talent.
    @Miss Cole: Me too, I never feel as calm as I do when it's raining.
    @Misha: Research is great, though it can interfere with word count.
    @Alleged: You know, you could probably get those on Ebay. They have all types of random weirdness on there. (I have that song stuck in my head now: 'The kind of stuff you throw away, I'll buy on Ebay')
    @Marquita: Thank you! I'm a rainaholic, if it's been sunny for too long I crave rain.
    @RacquelMe too! :)

  14. Rain and eavesdropping, yes. I also chat to the college students I teach. Posting inspiring quotes above my desk. Hearing other people type at my writing space. Exercising, because I know my brain will be buzzing afterwards at a faster clip.