Stories–What Inspires You?

In one of my Facebook groups, another writer posed the question, “How do you draw your inspiration for your stories?”  The answers ran the gamut. I posted: “My best ideas come while lingering far too long in the shower.”

This is 100% true.  I am a bathroom-inspired genius, in part because this is what I see out my bathroom window:
There’s a fog; it’s early AM; I live in the Pacific Northwest where it’s typically gloomy this time of year. Ghostly would be another apt description, but more on that later.

As I gaze out, I often wonder what lives in that wildlife habitat.  I hear coyotes at night, and I’ve seen deer before, but I’m not really out in the country per se, just lucky to butt up against a wisp of nature.

Now, I’m not claiming that everything conceived in the bathroom has life outside the bathroom or even lives up to its initial hype, just that my bathroom is a petri dish for ideas.

I also tend to notice oddities like this leaf I saw suspended by a few spider web filaments.  It survived the entire day dangling in the parking lot over one of the spots reserved for Evergreen Health Care, so I had to snap a picture:

Once I snapped a photo in my brand new (at the time) house and my sister helpfully pointed out that I had orbs.  That took my imagination in a whole new direction.  To this day, there’s something a little creepy about my basement, more so the guest bedroom than my workout room (pictured), though I must have the TV going at all times, either with my DVD workout playing or something mindless like QVC.

So with those types of photos / experiences, you’d think I’d write horror.  I don’t. I can, but I prefer other genres. Most of the time.

Sometimes a kernel of an idea will implant from sights like these, or a song, or a story I hear.  Over time, the idea germinates and takes off.  Maybe it grows into a full tree, maybe it’s merely a sprig of cilantro or mint for spicing up a bigger dish.

When I do flash fiction, the conception of a story idea under the pressure of a ticking clock is quite an adrenalin rush.  While my stories haven’t always been that well polished in the rush to get them down within the 90 minutes (and I’m usually finished in closer to 60 minutes because I hate to edit), the stories themselves stick with me in a good way.

So, this AM, I’m sitting down to take one of those 500 word acorns to see if I can grow it into something bigger for an anthology, something closer to 5000 to 10,000 words.  I may need to take a long shower or go workout in my haunted gym first…but I’ll get it down. I pitched my idea to the Silverback this morning before we hauled out of bed for the day. He was either humoring me because he liked my idea or was buttering me up for [[censored]], but he responded favorably.  😉

So how about you?  Where, when and how do your best ideas come to you for problem solving, story writing, artwork, whatever?

6 thoughts on “Stories–What Inspires You?

  1. Funny, my dreams lend most of my ideas for stories. Dialogue is acted out in the shower most of the time. I must sound like an insane weirdo talking to myself in the tiny, wet cubicle, but it seems that’s where my dialogue plays itself out the best. I act out complete scenes out loud. I am many characters reacting to what the others say (I know, I sound like a loon), but really, it’s how I get my dialogue to sound ‘real’. I have to say it aloud or else it reads really funny, it that makes sense.

    As for my art, I need no other inspiration than the seashells I collect. I made a beautiful mirror for my grand-daughter once using seashells I’d found on Florida beaches, twine and lots of love. It turned out beautifully and it’s a one of a kind piece of work. My art is sort of like my writing…I get an idea and then I just go with it. I don’t map it out, think about it, it just happens. I find this works best for me.

    Love your view from your bathroom. Wish I had one that beautiful. I can so see how this would inspire anyone to write.

    • I do my dialogue in my car…that and my imaginary conversation with my imaginary literary agent telling me my awesome manuscript was the object of a fierce bidding war that yielded a seven figure advance against a three book deal. Can’t risk people hearing me through the walls though, so the car is much safer. LOL

  2. Inspiration in the weirdest places seems to create best stories. I love letting my story ‘issues’ simmer and something in real life will ping the right fix and off I go. Of course the yelling, screaming kids in the background don’t always help, but hey … I’ll have to deal with that one. 🙂

    Love that leaf, by the way!

    • Simmering works well for me too. That leaf was pretty amazing. It may have even lasted 24 hrs. I just remember seeing it and thinking, “I should take a picture if it’s still here later.” You probably could have done it much more justice than my poor cell phone did, but at least you can see the web.

  3. Shower writers unite! I thought I was the only one that got great creative vibes from the shower.

    Driving is another place where most of my ideas click into place. Like Aimee, I tend to mull about an idea for a long time before writing it down. If I write it down too soon, my brain dismisses it.

    Music is one of the biggest influences for me. A song will often paint the backdrop upon which my story evoles.

    Eww.. creepy leaf, awesome mist/fog.

    • Yes! Showers and driving are spots 1 and 2 for birthing my madness. Music is huge for me too because it’s what spurs my drive time thoughts. It really helps me change gears too, especially between stories.

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