I was talking about this with my fellow Romance Novelist Association authors the other day, and it’s often different things for different people. Some one was saying it was places they visited, and then they just knew they wanted to write a story which took place in that setting. Another person said it was people, and someone else mentioned music.
For me it is generally about people, but not someone’s character, so I don’t meet someone and think, you’d make a good character – so sorry friends and family, none of you are written into my books. It’s true stories which inspire me. Little snapshots I hear of people’s real lives.
You’ve probably noticed this if you read my history blog, as generally it’s those snapshots I share in it.
But I hear a tale and see an image of someone in a situation, and then my stories seem to spin from that image. Generally the story does not follow the true life event; it is just that something about what I picture someone feeling or thinking at the time, causes a spark of inspiration.
Recently, since I got a publishing contract, my family and friends have started giving me stories of their own to write. “This would make a great story… why don’t you…” No, that doesn’t work for me, I’d never be a ghost writer, I can’t force my imagination, it either grabs something and runs with it or nothing comes at all, I can’t shoe-horn it into what I want it to picture.
I do get images from music too though, but again this is when the music conjures up a picture of a person in my head, in a certain pose, or a certain moment. Then I just get the essence of that person, what they feel, what is going on in their head and their heart. I feel how they feel and I get their thoughts running through my head. Then a thread of what would come from those thoughts and feelings, to make a story, begins to unravel.
Weird I know, but I am sure writers all experience it or something similar.
I feel like my characters generally write their own stories, I have to do very little conscious thinking about what’s going to happen when or where, it just flows out of my subconscious, unravelled from this initial image of a character.
It’s funny because when I first set myself up on Facebook a couple of years ago now, I noticed when I put which music artists I liked that they were predominantly female singer song-writers. It took me until that conversation with my RNA colleagues to realise why.
The music I favour and draw inspiration from is generally songs about relationships, and it’s usually women who write these heartfelt descriptions to melodies, there are groups I like too, like The Script and Snow Patrol, who write from the heart, and some male singer-songwriters, but being a romance writer, I am more drawn to the songs women write today, which are often like a piece from of a love story, because their head space is frequently where mine is too.
There was one Lady Gaga song which presented an image to me of a disgruntled man, leaning against a wall and watching a woman, (although that wasn’t what she was singing about) very much like the image on my first book cover, although it was not this character I was thinking of. Edward is not the brooding type, and his image on the book cover expresses that with a hint of a smile (well captured by my publishers, Sapphire Star). Anyway the character I’m speaking of is in book four in the Marlow Intrigues Series and if the image was of him he would have a brooding, accessing and calculating look. Sorry, you’ll have to wait until book four to learn how his story spun out…
Best of luck with your inspiration…
My debut novel is due to be published 2nd May 2013 Sapphire Star Publishing are the publisher. If you want to find out more got to http://www.janelark.co.uk/ like me on Facebook or follow me on twitter @janelark