Writing inspiration can come from literally anywhere. A simple thought or question is really all it takes to seed the idea. As I write this I hear low flying helicopters, how many are there? What are they doing? How odd that there would be multiple helicopters flying near me at 3am? So let’s dive right into how we can use imagery to fuel our thought engines.
There are some spectacular photos available on the web, and free for you to use if you know where to look. My personal favorite is Pexels.com. They have thousands of completely free images in a wide range of categories. As you scroll through the different pages within Pexels take mental notes, physical notes, or simply download the picture for later use. This is another chance to let your imagination roam free.
Some things standout immediately, it’s in a graveyard and the color in the background suggests fire. Is this a vampire story, a zombie tale or perhaps the beginning of the end of the world? Maybe it is foreshadowing the events to come as our story opens with this photo inspired setting. You decide where this is going and the best course to take from what you see.
Drawings, and sketches, and digital everything, oh my! It’s safe to say that Pinterest has almost become THE place to go to get inspired. From crafting to woodworking to parenting and business, I have seen just about everything on Pinterest. Find within its vast database a myriad selection of imagery. Again, like the photographs above it is easy enough to find inspiration simply by finding the right pictorial prompt. Let them speak to you. Find one or more and ponder some questions such as what am I being shown, what is the obvious story, how can I twist this obvious story into originality?
I look at everything being shown down to the background details, not only what the artist/photographer has in focus. What is the landscape? Where did this character come from and where are they going? Depending on the image chosen you can see how even the smallest detail can be used to spark an idea that you can now use. I found a mouse dressed in a rangers outfit standing on a branch with his bow and thought of C. S. Lewis and his use of such creatures. I then thought how this character could be the hero of his tribe and how his vigilant pose and watchful eye would keep the evil at bay. Again, let the image sink in and push out the creative thoughts.
Music And Sounds
Yes even music and sounds can inspire and idea. They are the sonic imagery most people only think of after the fact. Just think about every time you watch a scary scene in a movie, the sounds are engineered to elicit an emotional response. Fear is a great place to start don’t you think? That creaky door followed by the raspy breathing of someone in the dark or partially light by a crackling fire, the scraping of metal on wood. You feel that? Your pulse just quickened a little, the chemicals in your brain are swirling getting you ready for what ever jumps out at you.
Even the cheery light-hearted feel good music is created to bring about hope or courage. Think about that diner waitress that has finally decided to change her circumstances. For those of you who have worked around heavy equipment or factory machinery, I am sure that the clanking and chiming of buzzers can bring about thoughts of automation. How maybe the whirring of robotic servos strikes a cord of futuristic nature. So the next time you listen to the soundtrack of a movie pay attention to how it makes you feel. You can use this to trigger your own story.
You want to be better at writing then read more. This advice is frequently quoted among all the how-to’s you find, and for good reason. What ever scene your trying to write it may have already been done, certainly not the way you would write it but it most like has been done. This allows you to possibly see how someone else handled the situation. Reading more puts you in the unique position to glean knowledge from those who have gone before you. Learn from them, let their written imagery spark the fire inside you and then stoke that fire with fuel from the other categories discussed here.
The Last Word
There is no one place I turn, to inspire me. I keep as open a mind as I can, this allows me to be inspired from some of the most unlikely of places. I happen to be using a fluorescent dye one day for a job I held, when under the black light I caught sight of my arm. There where specks of dye splashed on my forearm which made me think of stars. This thought led to a movie called Titan A.E. where the main character had a map of a new earth encoded into his DNA. I took this trigger and thought about how my character would be the last of his kind a pioneer of star travel. His star chart is illuminated on his arm and every time he makes a star jump the chart on his arm gets dimmer or the place he was just at on his chart winks out and he can never return. I can take it the other way and add to the chart only after he visits every planet in a particular system.
I hope you enjoyed this and it has helped you in some way. I wish you the best of luck in what ever you pursue.
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