Monday, September 19, 2011

The Seed of Inspiration


            Last week was rough for me.  I didn’t have it in me to post anything here on my blog.  Nor did I write anything for my new project.  My inspiration had been crushed by a series of unfortunate events.  Yesterday, I decided to push through it and write the first page of my new novel even though I didn’t know where the story was going.  I did, however, know where it should start.  From this first page, I felt my inspiration blossom, and I wrote the entire first chapter, the seed, the inciting event. 
I read a terrific blog post last week by paranormal author Jami Gold titled Where Do You Get Your Ideas?.  In it she writes, “Story seeds often start small: a single line of dialogue, a single question, a single action.  And somehow our brain takes that nugget of information and turns it into a whole story.”  This is exactly how my last book started, with a question.  I asked myself this question and somehow the answer came through within the text of a 90,000 word novel.
This time, it’s working out to be a bit different.  This time, I’ve started with a single event that I know will spiral into chaos, turmoil, and tragedy.  Still, I have no idea how I’m going to get there, but at least I’ve started, I’ve pushed through that wall that’s been hanging me up for awhile now.
Last time, after asking myself that question, I wrote a complete outline detailing every thought, every movement and action the major characters would take.  That outline gave me immediate structure.  With it in front of me, I could just write, kind of like having a GPS on your car’s dash allows you to just drive, without having to stop and ask for directions or pore over a map. 
Well, I don’t have the luxury of a GPS this time around, but I think my muse left me a sparse trail of breadcrumbs before he took his leave.  I can’t see much of a trail to follow, but at this point, I do see the next crumb.  That’s something, at least.  And I’ll take it.  I’m hoping by the time I’ve found my way to the next crumb and written the second chapter, a new one will have appeared down the path, a new clue that tells me where I should turn. 
In the mean time, I’m letting my seed marinate in the fertile soil that is my brain.  The seed has finally sprouted.  It’s slowly pushing its way through the dense earth toward the surface, towards enlightenment.  I feel the heat of it pulling me upward, as well, out from under the crush.
My friend, Lisa Regan, wrote a hilarious post yesterday called Conversation With My Work In Progress where she describes the point-by-point argument she is having with her nearly finished novel and how she desperately needs its cooperation to see it completed.  Do yourself a favor and check it out.  It’ll brighten your day and put a smile on your face.  And if, like me, you’re struggling with an idea or your current WIP, it’ll let you know that you are not alone.   

20 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd just like to have a discussion with a single idea right now!

Alleged Author said...

I am so glad you were able to pound out a chapter. May your seed grow into something beautiful!

Carrie Butler said...

Nice! I'm really glad that your new idea is taking form. :D

Bethany Elizabeth said...

My WIP and I have been at it for awhile now - but I think we're hitting stride. :) It'll be great.

McKenzie McCann said...

Oh, it's great to hear you've found the Muse again, even if they're playing mind games with you.

I like your attitude about it. Just one crumb at a time.

Good luck, Nancy.

Jasmine Walt said...

So glad you've managed to make some headway! You know, I don't think that I actually have a muse. I think there's just some black hole inside my head that I play a constant tug-of-war with, and every so often I manage to wrestle a bit of plot away from it.

LynNerd said...

Yay Nancy! I'm so glad the seed is sprouting. Your post is inspiring! I'll take crumbs any day!

Lisa L. Regan said...

What an awesome post. Reminds me just how great a writer you are. And thanks for the shout-out. I'm SO happy you found that seed. Maybe every book isn't meant to be written the same way, who knows? I'm just glad to hear you're making a start. Hopefully the floodgates will open! I love The Mistaken so much. I just can't wait to see what you come up with next. By the way, I love the imagery of your muse leaving you breadcrumbs. This is an incredibly well-written post. And now to wrestle with my cranky, stingy WIP! LOL.

Laila Knight said...

Wonderful! So you're writing like a panster. The journey is half the fun. I'm happy you found your inspiration again. Your mojo was just playing hid and seek. I'm sure your second book will be spectacular. Here's to blood and mayhem. :)

Joylene said...

You're right, Lisa's hilarious. But it sparked an idea. I loved Mr. King's book. And don't you worry, your seed will grow and grow and before long, you'll be kicking it screaming and yelling into bookland. Yay.

M Pax said...

I've been there. I've found if I make myself write, with permission to muck it up and just play around, I find my way through. Inspiration is more likely to strike me when writing than not. So, I've learned.

Right now I'm polishing and editing and formatting. Revising/polishing takes a lot of inspiration, too. So, I find.

I'm getting kind of frustrated I haven't had a spare minute for either of my WIPs. I hope soon. And I hope you find your inspiration.

Nikki Jefford said...

Chaos, turmoil and tragedy – I’m intrigued.

Wishing you a better week and more to come!

klahanie said...

Hi Nancy,
The really positive aspect to all of this is that you are letting the seeds of inspiration grow with the vibrancy that shall turn those seeds into radiant flowers.
Just don't put pressure on yourself and may you have much happy writing :)
In kindness, Gary

Alexis Bass Writes said...

Yea! Sounds like progress to me! Have fun following the bread-crumb trail of your new novel. :)

Jennifer Hillier said...

Yay for the first chapter! Sometimes you gotta force it, but it looks like that seed is about to sprout! Good for you. :)

richard p hughes said...

Inspiration is wonderful, but sometimes you just can't wait for it. Looks like you're doing things the right way.

Julie Musil said...

Ah, I can relate! My next project is a stack of notes that have not yet taken shape. It'll be interesting to see how it'll all come together, but it will. And so will yours!

Rebecca Kiel said...

Thanks, I check out those posts. Keep in it. One day it'll hit you and your new WIP will be flying!

Lora R. Rivera said...

Definitely been there. All the time, being a pantser. It's soooo frustrating, but so exciting, too, when the seeds start to sprout, as you say. Keep pushing forward, and just let it come!

By the way, I checked out Lisa's Conversation with my WIP post. Hilarious. Thanks for the link :)

--Lora

Lynda R Young said...

Congrats on getting started. That's brilliant. Often the muse doesn't arrive until AFTER we start writing ;)