When Lightning Strikes

4843209038_80f3affb83_bOne question that I am universally asked is where I get my inspiration from. This is probably true of most writers. The answer is simple. My inspiration comes from anything and anywhere. It’s as simple as driving down the street and having an errant thought that leads to one primary question, “What if?”

I think what separates writers from non-writers is that the answer to that question begins to weave a picture in our minds that slowly metamorphoses into scenes, plot, sub-text, climax and dialogue. We become compelled, not just to answer the question, but to see how it plays out. What the answer looks like, smells like, sounds like – all must be addressed.

For instance, Reflection began with a very simple question, “What if a woman desired specific sex acts, but had deep-seated shame attached to those acts and actively fought her desire?” Answering that question took over 80,000 words and six months before I was satisfied.

I’ve been hit by inspiration in all manner of places and from the smallest things. Just before sitting down to write this post, I began watching Longmire on Netflix and the sheriff uttered the phrase “a kindness of ravens.” That phrase struck me as both ironic and profound. It lead me to recall that a flock of crows is called a “murder.” That fast a duology was born. The main character is one I’ve been toying with for a while. One that I was inspired to create when I saw a trailer parked in my complex’s parking lot for an itinerant preacher and had the thought, “I bet no one would ever question a preacher in town.” That thought led to the development of a  hitman who masquerades as an itinerant pastor to avoid suspicion. Those two elements, a random thought while driving and an errant piece of dialogue, have created two books I’m now driven to write.

Inspiration is a mercurial thing. It strikes without warning and can disappear just as fast. That’s why, when lightning does strike, it’s always best to write it down.

I know I do.

4 thoughts on “When Lightning Strikes

  1. I like the quote on the image with this post. Getting ideas is one thing. I’ve never had a problem with that. It’s the sticking with the idea and making it into something you are happy with that had been the hard thing for me.

    And that springs out of passion. Not just passion for the idea – although you need that – but passion for the medium and passion for your vision/voice to be realized. I got into my groove as a writer once I decided that I was just going to push ahead with my voice/vision. Ideas came, but more importantly, I could recognize which ideas would be ideas that I could turn into a story and which were probably for someone else. Not bad ideas, just not the right mix of idea/person.

  2. Yes, both the image, as well as the quote itself drew me right in to read the rest of the post. Almost every morning I seem to get some seminal inspiration in the shower (no pun intended), and need to dictate it into my phone’s recorder before I loose it completely…I don’t necessarily get right back to developing that idea immediately, but when I need to look for a “spark” to start the fire, I always have that to follow.
    I wish I had a dollar for every idea I ever lost before I started recording.

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