So... stealing a meme of sorts from a dear friend of mine, who has a blog on Blogspot here. In specific, this post here.
It's not much, but I liked the idea: the rules state that if awarded this 'Inspire Award', you must first give an acceptance speech, then list five things that inspire you, and a song. If nothing else, it's for posterity, so, here goes...
[Lady K holds the award, smiling warmly at the audience.] I just wanted to thank everyone for this... prestigious award. I want to first thank my muse, Blake. He is... well, a right git most of the time, and a downright diva, but GOD, do we write wonderful things together. You've got real brass, and you don't care who knows it. I love that about you, and I thank you for all the wonderful stories you've brought me over the years. And I want to thank you, my readers! I've always said that I write mostly for myself - Blake and I write wonderful stories, and if nothing else, I amuse myself greatly with my own cleverness, but being able to share my adventures with you is quite wonderful. I'm glad someone else can get my Sticks! jokes... And yes, I promise to get caught up when I get my scanner back. [OOC: Oh dear god... O.O ] I also want to thank [insert contemporary life partner here], for being my rock, and my better half. You push me on to bigger and better things! And also make sure I feed myself. And walk the dog. And get some sleep. But you're also wise enough to just let me get up at 3a and listen to what the muse has to say. Your patience as I jabber on about a world that doesn't exist is unparalleled, and I thank you for it. And to you, my fellow writers! Bre, Kate, Summer... I love you girls. My men have loved you, and your women. You let Blake be as unruly as he wants, and we are rewarded with priceless moments and memories that can never be paralleled. I also want to send a shout out to all who do the things the love, and live their dreams. You inspire me... in so many ways, I can't even tell you! [Audience cheers, Lady K blows kisses to the crowd, confetti rains down, she hugs a bouquet of roses as big as she is...]
...but, guess what the next bit is? I tell you five things that inspire me. HAH! Fooled ya!
Thing that inspires me #1: People. I know, obvious, but there it is. There is an old saying: "Show me who your friends are, and I'll show you who YOU are". I strive to surround myself with interesting people, in the hopes that they, in turn, will stimulate me and make me an interesting person as well. There is something to said for pretending to be a meme and god-moding over the underclassmen, but I genuinely try to be an interesting person by cultivating the company I keep. At parties, I will find myself scanning the room for the most interesting person present, and will usually find myself watching them, then near them, then talking with them, then usually exchanging Facebook info (unless they're against that sort of thing). XD I love meeting new people! Their stories, their lives, their clothes, their manners, their music. I love everything about an entirely new specimen to learn from and study. It is because of this diversity in company that I can develop a diversity in my characters. It's easy to make characters that have both eccentricity and depth when you have real-life examples to draw on. Sometimes it's the details - the nuances, the fashion picks, the ticks, the quips, the habits - that really sell someone as a real person. And I steal from real life ALL the TIME.
Thing that inspires me #2: Music. I know, I know, another OBVIOUS one. But it's very true. ...but not always in the way you'd think. You see, I've found myself crafting playlists for my characters. Some of them make sense off the top of the bat, but other ones sneak up on me. My muse will drop songs into my head for ear worms that I will then have to go look up and investigate. More than once, my subconscious has picked up on something I missed, or I'll stumble upon a new song and it will IMMEDIATELY strike a chord. This is frustrating at work, when I can get stuck singing the only three lines of Oingo Boingo's "Little Girls" that I remember, but later, when things are quiet on the internets, I will sit and knit and listen to a character's playlist. Sometimes I can learn a lot through this form of 'meditation', and I am constantly cultivating my playlists. For instance: Dark Side's original write through during November was largely written to Panic! at the Disco's Pretty. Odd. album, plus a couple other singles. Now that I'm doing rewrites, the playlists are a bit more strict, but it's good to keep the old source material around. Abney Park in particular is very rich in inspirational imagery (in the lyrics, that is) and I find I get a new pirate captain (or remake one) everytime a new cd comes out, hehehe... But I listen to new music all the time, and more than once have heard a new song and instantly been inspired to make a new character. The two most recent examples were Jora (inspired by Gossips "Heavy Cross", which is also on my kil'stern playlist) and Splice (inspired by Project Pitchfork's "Splice" - shut up). Today's earworm was Oingo Boingo's "Little Girls", so... yeah. Take that how you will.
Thing that inspires me #3: Quiet. Now, anyone that knows me PERSONALLY will find this HILLARIOUS. In case you hadn't notice, I'm... rather chatty. I honestly write how I talk, so if you ever meet me in person, don't act all surprised when I sound like this in real life. (-SNERK- Real life.) Asides included. That being said, it's the quiet that inspires me the most. Like those quiet afternoons I mentioned earlier where I just sit, knit, and watch a movie/listen to one of my playlists, soaking in it like an nice hot bath, letting it run over me and just listening for what I can learn from it. On my walks to the bus, sitting ON the bus, at work... if it's quiet (or at least I'm quiet) my brain will start talking to me. Be it a new earworm, overhearing a conversation/witnessing a scene from one of my stories (oh, the exposition... One thing I love about writing Dark Side: I publish as I write, so I'm honestly reading it the first time same as you are. Practically. Almost.), or otherwise chewing on story predicaments, character flaws, little details of the mythos and biology and the like. Rainy days in particular bring out Mallard, but Sticks! shows up a lot for little commentaries on things. Just being able to sit and have breakfast with my muse is nice. He's a cheap date, he doesn't eat anything, and I usually go home with pages of story exposition to show for it, hehehe...
Thing that inspires me #4: My competition. I know, that sounds silly, but I tend to look at other writers as not just fellows in the craft, but also competition. It's the entrepreneur in me. But when I do crafts, it's a little more serious - yes, I can make craft, but if I want to make money, I have to figure out what I'm doing that makes folks want to buy from my shop rather than someone else's. So when I see someone with a knitted hat, or a nice scarf, or a plush doll, or a decent costume piece or something else that I could even FEASIBLY make, I ask if I can look at it, study it, figure out how it was pieced together. Talking with someone who does the same craft you do is a good way to learn neat little tricks and cheats, and to punch out a style that works for you. In writing, it's no different, though a bit more subtle. Like, how J.K.Rowling (Harry Potter) manages to slip her exposition in through throwaway lines, clever details, foreshadowing, and symbology (even in her names!) is something I terribly admire about her, and try to emulate. How Stephen King manages to write with such a quick, sharp, captivating style, without holding back curses or ugliness, and being really real and gritty. He doesn't pull his punches, and I like the brutal honesty of his writing. He's real down to earth, and I like that about him. Or Nathan Lowell (Trader's Tales) who manages to write in a relatable first-person, and yet gives us a hero to admire and desire without having to do anything more extreme than the already crazy happenstances of life. A lot of Doyle is inspired by his Ishmael, and I do my part to reference my favourite stories in my works whenever possible. Part of writing is reading, and while some of it is to keep your mind stimulated with a good story, it's also important to keep your writing quill SHARP. You can tell a writer who hasn't had a reader for a long time, or has been doing too much writing and not enough reading. Compared to others', it comes out half-baked, and it's because you're not being mindful of others. That's an important thing to do - keep it in context. You don't want to lose a good story just because you (literally!) 'lost your touch'.
Thing that inspires me #5: Stories. Be it art, music, tv, cartoon, drama, fantasy, mystery, kung fu, western, Miyazaki, Kurosawa, Butron, Elfman, Rowling, King, Koontz, Cusack, Carrey, Roberts... Pirates, samurai, hackers, dragons, knights, aliens. It doesn't matter. Everything is part of an epic narrative. Same shit, different day. It's all the same thing, told in different places, different faces, different names, and different authors. But the Epic Narrative isn't something you escape. The TRICK is to see how others have spun the tale, and seeing what you like. Do you prefer unicorns as your innocents, or children? Or ghosts? Or the Ghost in the Machine? What scares you? What is 'evil', and is it something you are made, or are you born that way? What is the line between destiny and fate, or choice and free will?
Red v. Blue?
In all seriousness, it's important to keep yourself aware of all of the stories going around you. A good exercise I encourage you to try is to figure out a story that's going on around you. Read the paper, and see an interesting article. Try to imagine the people, the CHARACTERS, who are living out that story. Abusive husband, or dedicated father? A bitter employee, or an honourable war veteran? Or how about a bitter veteran? Look at people walking down the street, driving in their cars, riding the bus, sitting in the coffee shop. Who are they? What are they eating? WHY are they eating that? Are they under the delusion that drinking diet cola will somehow detract from the fact that their meal is french fries and a triple bacon cheeseburger? Or are they diabetic? Or do they prefer the taste? Maybe he just wants to go home and drop mentos in it, is all. What if the person next to you was a vampire, trying to hide from the sun under her shades, but has to do a meet up with her Sire for some serious business. Maybe the gum chewer in the corner just hopped on a train from New York and is debating where she wants to go next, just running away from home for a short-lived adventure. Have fun with it. Who's to say why? Use stereotypes, TEST stereotypes. Amuse yourself. Keep up the thinking, and try to have fun with it.
Because ultimately, it's the HAVING FUN that keeps you inspired.
(Oh, and a song.)