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Inspiration:

Where is it Hiding?

I am a poet, novelist (fiction and non-fiction), columnist, and a children's writer. Where does the inspiration to write in several genres come from? Everywhere!

Mark Stanleigh: "Inspiration and ideas are like oxygen and can be found almost everywhere...the key is to inhale deeply."

Spinner: "Give me a word, any word. Inspiration is the easy part. As Mark said, all you have to do is breathe deep. Execution is work. How many people have told you they have a great story YOU should write, and share the profit with them for the idea? We all have ideas. A writer is one who is willing to do the work required to turn ideas into stories."

Cyndi: "I see ideas everywhere. Sometimes they come into focus immediately (the AH-HA thing). Other times, I wake up in the middle of the night and realize I saw or heard something worth following up on. I scribble the idea of a stick-um and stick it on the frig (so I don't stay up all night thinking about it). I don't have the time to write up everything right now, but I keep a folder. When I have a writer's block moment, I pull out the folder and have something to build with."

TygerEd: "My ideas come from things that happen to me or sometimes from dreams. I just finished a story on what happened to my father-in-law after he passed away. The events were there, but one night they all came together in my head. Mostly from things that happen to me.

A writer views the world differently than other people do. Each moment is a potential story. You do not even have to leave your home for inspiration to find you; it is evident in every day life."

Chris: "I am a compulsive people-watcher and eavesdropper. Snippets of conversations, the way someone walks, clothes -- the list is almost endless. I find myself putting them into hypothetical situations and wondering how they'd react. Also, I have a *dream book* in which I jot down any remembered dreams, however brief or vague. It's amazine what pictures can be conjured up from a simple dream-image which if not recorded immediately is likely to fade forever."

NetRaptor: "My ideas come from weird places ... movies, a phrase in a song, a character in a computer/videogame, a topic in a magazine, an odd idea in a book. Sometimes they just show up out of nowhere in my head as I go to sleep at night. I sympathize with Jan Karon. When asked where she gets ideas for her chracters, she said, Darned if I know. They just walk in, introduce themselves and I'm stuck with them."

Children are a wonderful source of ideas for stories. After answering (well, at least attempting to answer) what seemed like the millionth question my son had asked me in less than an hour, I heard "Mama, how big is the universe?" Out of this one question a children's picture book was born. Listen to the things your children say and do with the ears of a writer and you might be surprised at the ideas that abound!

Terre: "I get a lot of my ideas from hearing someone say something, or watching children playing, looking at a picture that will remind me of something. I then will take a word and play (sorta) an association game with that word. Most of my stories are written in verse, so I do a lot of rhyming also, both textbook and silly."

Another source for story ideas can come from your pets or from animals in the wild. Animals are peculiar creatures with oddities all their own. Whether it be cats, dogs, fish, birds (or any other animal), they live in a world all their own. Look at life through their eyes and you will see a whole new world of ideas. This works especially well if you write fiction because you can create characters using the personality traits you have observed the animals to have. Example: You have an aquarium and there is one fish who is mean to all the others. From this you can create: a childrens' story about bullies; a poem about the cruelty of life; a short story where your characters are people--they can be either children or adults--and one of them is tougher or meaner than the others. Remember the movie The Incredible Mr. Limpett? That is a perfect example of a writer's imagination!

WONK: "Something happens in my life that gives me the idea on how to start a story. 2 examples I woke at 2 in the morning and watched a blood red splinter of a moon rise in a foggy night- started a horror novel with that one. I was mowing lawn and an eagle flew into the yard and watched me for about an hour- scifi novel. I have also made a plan for a story. 1 example I was wanting a story about a hitman and his killings but contrasted with a man down the street so I created chapter scenes with jumps between a killing and the common man to show the differences between the two different actions."

Dreams are an endless source of inspiration for a writer. You can keep a dream diary where you write down your nightly excursions into the subconscious. You may find it helpful to keep pen and paper by your bedside to record your dreams the moment you wake up. This offers a plethora of ideas to write about depending on the person and the subject of the dreams-romance, horror, science fiction, etc...

Armona: "To fall asleep at night, I daydream. I have an awake mind, so my mind doesn't let me fall asleep very well, so I put myself into interesting situations. My daydreams turn into stories a LOT! And my dreams, too. I don't often remember them, but when I do, they usually turn into stories. Sometimes phrases will catch my mind and turn into stories. Like the other day, I was listening to a song, and one of the lines just bit me, and now it's in the ending of my novel (which I haven't gotten anywhere close to, but it's going to be in there.) My insperation comes from lots of places."

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