I was just watching a TV show and I got to think about what inspires an interior designer while creating amazing dreamy locations. So, the question came to me slowly and revealing: what inspires a writer?
I am the kind of person inspired by everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. It would literally take me months to create summaries of every novel idea that I have. I can sit on the toilet and think of a horror story that starts on the toilet. I can ride the bus and see a story at every turn or stop. I can make anything into everything. Once, I even had a story in mind that came from a leaf blown by the wind. I’m that inspired.
But in this case, why am I not writing? What stops all of my inspiration to come into real fact? I blame it on procrastination but it feels lame just writing it. Of course I love to just stay and do nothing for days, but I’m not really a procrastinator. I do stuff for work, for the house, I have a lot of creativity on my plate to keep me busy for years.
But why am I not writing? I know there is a writer’s block, but I’m in one for way too long. I love to write and I always think of chapters and have them perfectly outlined in my head, I just can’t seem to add them on paper.
But enough on my skills lack, let’s get back to the inspiration. Here is a small list that help me keep it together when it comes to places and characters. Maybe it will help you too:
Locations – I based my locations on real and existing areas (of course, the ones that happen on Earth). It would be easier to invent locations and places, but for now I feel it would be difficult to remember small details in order to make it believable. Since I live in Romania, of course this is the country I start with. What I also love to do is take old buildings from my city and redesign them on paper. I give them personality and a story to go with it. As long as I have the core of the building, I can make it work.
Characters – most of the characters are based on my friends or people that I know. It is easier to have a full background on someone once I set a certain person to a character. Of course, I never told them who they are in the stories. It would be weird, I think. I also have a custom that I’m not sure is a good one or a negative one: all of the main characters are based on me. I know it sounds narcissistic but I know myself best. Also, I can’t seem to write about anything else but superhero women.
Names – I’ve always hated naming my characters. I find it impossible and I really do have a story where my characters have names of alphabet letters, like A, C, W. For me, naming is a blockage. Sometimes I stay for days with my ideas ready to go because I do not have a name for my characters. It is easier to invent some weird names but a lot harder to actually give them Romanian names. I always search for names that do not belong in my circle of friends.
Backgrounds – well, I’m a sucker for them families. If I can give one character 10 brothers and sisters and a functional set of parents, I’m happy. I know it is difficult to work with so many characters (we can’t all be Stephen King or Terry Pratchett) but I love them. I think a family creates a perfect environment for a complex character. I can’t base the parents on my parents because my characters would be happy functional people without any issues. But I like the idea of drunk parents. Don’t ask me why, I just do.
Appearance – this is the place where everything comes from my own imagination. I do not base the appearance of my characters on any known people. It might happen for some to look the same as my friends, but it’s an illusion. This is where I let my imagination go wild and come up with weird looking people. And I love it!
That was about it with my inspiration but I would like to share with you a little exercise that I have been doing for years. I like to stay on a bench somewhere and look at the people passing down the street. And I create their lives. I look at them and immediately come up with their story. How many children do they have? Are they having a great job that they love or just a job that gets them through life? Have they had a happy childhood? Do they have money to get out or buy expensive food?
It’s refreshing to give lives to other people. Almost a God-like feeling when you alone know their stories and their everything. You should try it with friends too.
But where do you get your inspiration?