Friday, September 5, 2008

Maybe *you* can be my inspiration

I'm sure different writers have different sources for inspiration. Some people are more plot-oriented ("Hey, what would happen if a sailor discovered the ship he was on was full of ghosts?") and some, like me, much more character-driven.

New York may be a lot of things, but there is NO shortage of people around who are just a little "off." Or a lot "off." And I am drawn to people like that. Many of them are characters in my stories. Like there is this old woman who sits in a lawn chair on the toniest part of Madison Avenue, watching the people go by. She sits right on the sidewalk, pretty much in everyone's way, directly in front of the Carolina Herrera store. And she's all dolled up--dress, jewelry, makeup. She's there every day. I say "hi" to her, and I wonder What's her story?

She's next on the list.

Or there's the homeless dude who plays the harmonica around the corner from my building. He plays loudly. Badly. Apparently, that's his angle. But, he's a super nice guy. And he's made it into my novel. I'm considering giving him a copy once it's published (confidence! make it so!), but I'm afraid I'll hurt his feelings about the bad harmonica playing. Is it possible he thinks he's good?

Or, really, I can just take my notebook and sit outside if I am lacking ideas.

What inspires you?


Janna Qualman said...

I love both scenarios you've shown here, especially the woman on Madison Avenue. Can't wait to read about 'em in your PUBLISHED works. ;)

Amy Nathan said...

I'm inspired by everything - I love people-watching like you and the wonder of it (and wondering about people in general) spurs me to answer my own questions by writing.

So, why wonder about the lady in the chair? She can be whoever you want or need her to be!

You definitely seem inspired. Good luck on the submissions!

Joanne said...

Definitely people-watching. Music inspires, too. A certain song might shift my way of considering a character. That lady in the chair? She seems like she could have her own book!

WendyCinNYC said...

Thanks everyone. The lady in the chair is really very cute. She's one of those *tiny* old ladies, and she always smiles.

Maybe I'll tell her I blogged about her.

Alison Hay said...

People always. I'm always more drawn to non-fiction accounts and histories because of that deep interest in people, but too my favorite fiction works are those which depict people with great perception, even if only a thumbnail sketch of someone passing in the street.

colbymarshall said...

I'm always amazed at the little things that will spark an entire story to form in my head...I do a lot in theatre, so I'm never at any shortage for real life characters, lol, and a lot of times their antics will ignite an idea.

WendyCinNYC said...

Thanks Alison Hay. I hope things are well with you.

Colby: I'm sure being in theatre can be very inspiring, both for finding off beat characters and re-energizing your mind.

ac said...

Music, painting, running...all inspire me.

Also, reading news events. Sometimes I write an editorial in my character's voice. I end up using quite of bit of the editorials in my books (with adjustments so that it, well, doesn't read like an editorial)

C A said...

I find a lot of inspiration with animals. How they behave, how they respond to us, and how we respond to them.

Nice post :)

Melanie Avila said...

I'm a big people watcher.

There are a lot of musicians here who play for tourists, and most of them are pretty good, but there's one who's so bad people tip him to stop. I think that IS his gimmick.