Could Inspiration Strike at a Weirder Time?

I noticed that I get all my writing ideas while living, and not thinking about writing. I know that sounds weird, but you'd think the most typical story ideas would be inspired by paintings or articles or something brilliant like learning the advancements made in cloning. Very cool, but knowing these things gets me thinking and talking and researching and... it ends there; fodder for my stories, but nothing that ignites a two week writing binge.

So what does inspire? Oh boy. The weirdest things. So if you have a minute, let's sink into the oblivion that is my mind. We can check out yours next.

So the weirdest place I ever got an idea for a story was in a restaurant bathroom. My little one was in the stall and I was waiting. Waiting patiently. He kept asking if I was there, as if I might vanish. It got me thinking, what if I suddenly passed out and didn't wake up for ten years? This freaky bathroom would be my last image and suddenly I would be... where? What would happen next? What would I miss... And this turned into the first scene of book about a guy who remembers everything, even his past lives and well... he meets a memory eraser he can't keep his paws off. How did I make the leap? No idea and a gal can't explain magic like that. 

Not sure why, but I always get a story idea when I'm cleaning the house. Something about the smell of cleaning solution gets my imagination working in ways it really shouldn't. Really, it's the ultimate cure for writer's block.

Once, I even got an idea while my child was throwing up with the flu. Odd, I know, but it got me thinking about a mother helping her a child, and next thing I know I'm painting a scene with words that involved talking to a horse. Again, sounds like a leap, but it'll all make sense to you when you read it.

Another place that never fails to inspire me is church. It's quiet, someone is reading awesome stories about magic, miracles, and then these stories are explored and applied into today's world. My Gosh!... it's a breeding ground for incredible ideas. I usually write until I fall into a coma after mass and I never know where it'll take me.

When I was working in retail I had to walk past the automotive section daily to get to my department, and they had out these monstrous containers for the back of trucks. And, being me, I always avoided them, a little freaked out that someone might be hiding in one and jump out to scare me. This thought grew into a story for a somewhat morbid play. 

The opening scene for the last book in the Notebook Chronicles came to me during a meeting. The speaker was talking about how to captivate a tourist. It was a good presentation but my shoes were hurting my feet, and pain ignites my creativity. I pondered the choice of my foot wear and decided I should have worn runners. This gave me an image-- a sneaker in the middle of a road. That would really captivate someone. Make them question a few things, maybe they'd even get out of the car puzzled... and so this is how the scene came to life. A shoe in the middle of the road. Who did it belong to?

And of course, my all time favourite, and I know I already mentioned it, but it was an author interview. I was curious about this author and wanted to see what she had to say. She said something that inspired me to write. I mean, write. Okay that sounds stupid, I've been writing since I was 13. I mean it inspired me to write every single day without fail, without fear, without boundaries. What did she say? The interviewer asked why her characters were so hot and she answered, "Because I wrote them that way."  Now that's power that inspires.
So what weird places or things inspire you? 


Anonymous said...

That shoe was awesome! My first book idea (a MG paranormal) came while watching Sesame Street with my toddler. My current MG idea came after reading that an Israeli publisher wanted novels of all genres with Jewish themes. My last YA idea came one day while driving by a wooded preserve that I drive past almost every day. Bam! You just never know.


Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I love your interviewee's comment, "Because I wrote them that way." I don't know why, but that just makes me smile.

As for what inspires me? Well, like you, when I'm cleaning house, I come up with all kinds of ideas for new stuff, and ways to make current scenes work better. I think because something manual frees your creative mind. It's not focused on "goal stuff". I also get inspiration when I pull weeds in the garden.

Richard Hughes said...

My ideas come at odd times, too, while driving, while reading, while lying in bed trying to sleep. Sometimes they come when I've been thinking about a situation in my story that needs resolution for a while, a few days maybe, and bam, it hits me. That's a hit I'll take everyday.

Valentina Hepburn said...

My inspiration for Notes on a Rebellion came to me when I was sitting outside Tescos in my car waiting for a friend to return with a shed-load of chocolate. (We'd had a very bad day.) I'd heard the word 'random' three times that day and there it was again on the radio. Something suddenly clicked. You're right, Tanya, it is weird, but then I think I am a bit! Lovely post. Love the shoe thing.

Nicole Pyles said...

I got inspired to write a short story from a dream I had! It was from a line I heard in the dream. Coolest and weirdest inspiration ever. :)

Nicole Pyles said...
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Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Vicki! I can so see Sesame Street inspiring a few things. hee hee.

Elizabeth, yes! Pulling weeds does work!

Richard, I always find solutions in my sleep too. Love that.

Oh Valentina, you had me at chocolate. hahahaha.

Nicole, omg! Dreams are the best for inspiration. Yes!!!

Suzi said...

I totally get this. I've gotten inspiration from music and TV shows. But also from normal everyday things like you talk about.

One story of mine, I was driving away from our house in the winter, thinking about the snow and playing in the snow as a kid.

Somehow that led to a girl in foster care whose mother was a drug user. Which had nothing to do with my good memories of playing in the snow.

So you're right, you never know where they'll come from.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Love this post,Tanya...especially the bathroom scene! Hope all is well with you. :-)