Thursday, 11 October 2012

Good sources of inspiration

What with the insanity of returning to university, I suddenly have a million things to do, which is why I haven't blogged in a while. I've barely even had time to keep on track with my writing, what with a dissertation to start and a stack of course books to read. But today I've decided to write a post about things I've found to be good sources of inspiration for my writing!

  • Life experiences. I don't mean literally tell your life story, but in my current book series, some of the things that happen are based on personal experience. For instance, the main character has a disastrous university interview, which actually happened to me (though not under the same circumstances). And the trauma of being stranded overnight in a minibus after getting caught in a blizzard in the Lake District was so scarring, I had to use it in a book! Now I need to write a story set in a jungle with killer bees...
  • Other books/films. Not plagiarism, but there's no harm in taking certain aspects of a book, such as the atmosphere or setting, and writing a completely different story. Plus, as I know from researching my dissertation, stories in totally different genres can actually have the same story arc, so it's good to look at a variety of different books or films to see how the author handles the story, maintains tension etc.
  • Look at other books of the same genre - and think about how you could do it differently. This can be a good way to make sure your book is different from others out there, and it's why it's a good idea to read other genres, too (a lot of writers don't read books in their genre whilst writing for fear of subconsciously taking on other writers' styles. Personally, I don't see the harm in this, but that's probably because I've learnt how to recognise when I'm taking on another writer's voice and can hopefully stop myself doing it by now!)
  • Listen to other people's stories about strange things that have happened to them. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!  Half the anecdotes I've heard at university are bizarre enough that I probably couldn't use them in a book for fear that the reader would say 'That could never happen!' (my creative writing seminar group were having an interesting discussion about this a few days ago!)
  • Dreams - a lot of great works of literature were actually inspired by dreams, so if you're lucky enough to remember an interesting one, it's a good idea to write it down.I have friends who have very strange, vivid dreams, which would make great stories!
That's all I can think of for now! Happy writing :)


  1. Yay! So glad you joined us. I went to the Lake District once-gorgeous! Then again, it wasn't during a blizzard.

  2. Thanks so much for joining us. Great post. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction. I just have to remember to change the names...

  3. Hey thanks for the links on your Costa Rica experience! Much appreciated.

  4. Great post! You can get so much inspiration from real life! :)