Saturday 28 May 2016

Inside The Author: Where My Inspiration Comes From


A lot of writers get asked this, no matter whether they write screen plays, novels, short stories, or anything in between. It seems that when you write in the land of fiction, people want to know where you get your ideas from, what inspires you and how you turn that inspiration into the words on the page. I've seen writers sigh and groan when asked this question and I've seen them ponder on how to answer it. It's different for every writer, of course, and it all depends on how they view the term "inspiration" and how they use that to write.

For some people, inspiration comes from other writers, famous people or just people they know. For others, it's the work of other people, or true life crime, or many other events that happen in the world. For me, it's simple. Life inspires me. I am inspired by the world surrounding me. I look at people living their lives and I see plot lines, I see characters and I see a whole story to be written. I'm sure it's the same for other writers too. And it's not just other people's lives that inspire me, but my own life too. In BLACKOUT, one of the characters has the same condition as I do. In LYNNE & HOPE, Hope is disabled just as I am. In DESTINATION: UNKNOWN, a character has both M.E and Fibromyalgia, both conditions I know all too well.

The inspiration doesn't stop there, life throws things at you that you have no idea how to cope with. I choose to use some of them in my writing. I'm not saying that I have a psychic gift that allows me to see the last moments of someone's life, nor have I ever dreamed my life whilst in a coma. But, along with other lives that happen around me, lives that I read about or hear about or even think about get turned into plots and characters. There is also an element of imagination in there too. My parents would probably say that I have always had an over-active imagination, and I'd agree with them. A flair for the dramatic, as it were, but it’s having that flair that allows me to dream up plot lines and people that I have never met or experienced.

Life is full of little things that can make you sit back and think "Huh, wonder how that would look in a book", but the imagination is a powerful tool and essential when you're a fiction writer of any kind. You need to be able to take the impossible and make it real. Go further than you have before and fit the pieces of the puzzle together to allow the reader to see the big picture. That takes a lot of imagination, as well as life experiences inspiring you. I have never yet written fantasy, and although I've thought about it, I often think about how awesome it would be to create a whole new world, with different rules, religions, people, animals and all of that. I am in awe of those who have done so, people like J. K. Rowling, Susanne Collins and Phillip Pullman. All of them have kept some semblance of our world, but added to it and breathed life into their words.

So, when I say that life inspires me, it's not as simple as it seems. It can have both a wide reach and a small one. One event can inspire a whole new world, and one world can inspire one event. Being a writer is about knowing which events create which and using them to tell your story. I only hope that I have done those events justice.

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