Watching for Inspiration

Sometimes you have to just push the chair back and walk away from the desktop.You can only stare at a screen for so long before your mind goes numb and you’re searching for inspiration.

49661916 - working place of designer, close-up
49661916

 

Some of the best inspiration that you can get is from watching the people around you. This is especially true at large public locations. I’m lucky to live in South Florida; between the place where the mouse lives and the place where the dolphins swim there’s plenty of attractions to go and watch people. I don’t know what it is about people who are on vacation, but it seems like they’ll do the most amazing things. It might be because they’re letting their inhibitions down, as ifthey have an “I don’t care” attitude. Or maybe it’s because they think no one’s watching: at least no one they know. Young or old, male or female, there’s plenty of inspiration to watch for.

 

I especially like to watch the interaction between people;  what they’re doing while they’re talking. There are so many hand gestures and movements a person makes without even being aware of it and if you incorporate those into your story line you can add a lot of interest.

35641408_s
35641408 

 

Here’s a perfect example…

We were at the place where the mermaids put on a show in the springs  by Tampa. Two little girls very close in age were excited to be able to see the show with the mermaids. They jumped up and down and chattered non-stop. Their parents kept exchanging looks as they tried to quiet them down. Finally it was time for all of us to go in and sit down in the auditorium to watch the mermaid show. The two little girls were overjoyed with excitement and chattered loudly.Their mother tried to quiet them down but to no avail. Rather than getting in the middle of an argument with them, their father simply took each   girl by  hand and led them to their seats.  Instead of letting them sit together, he conveniently put himself and his wife between the two of them. They weren’t able to feed off the excitement of each other and they settled down to enjoy the show.

In that same auditorium over in the corner there were three little girls in the front row leaning over the railing. They were so excited to see the mermaids that they were pushing their noses up against the glass. Instead of being loud and rambunctious like the other girls, these three little girls were in awe of the mermaids. They whispered back and forth to each other and when one of the mermaids swam over and waved at them they were so excited they just didn’t know what to say.  As the mermaid swam away, the giggling and the whispering started. Yet, it was a smile on the adults around the three girls that told the true story. We were getting more enjoyment out of the children’s joy then out of the show itself.

26087034 - old couple walking together
26087034

Children of all ages are great to watch, because they held nothing back. Watching an adult is a little bit harder; you have to really pay attention, without appearing to stare at the interaction between them. It can be something as obvious as to couples fighting with raised hands and loud voices, to another couple so comfortable with themselves that words are needed. They let  their emotions show through actions;   the older man holds the woman’s hand to help her over a rough patch in the sidewalk. To me that action was louder than the arguments of the other couple.

So, when you feel like you’re stumped, or that you need a break, get out of the house and see what’s going on around you. If you can’t do that, flip on the TV and watch the interactions of the characters on the show. Be sure to pay closer attention to the side characters instead of the main characters. Sometimes what you see going on in the background is funnier than the comic one-liners the main characters have.

Feeling inspired? Good, now get back in that chair and start writing!

 

 

About the pictures:
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_belchonock’>belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_catmando’>catmando / 123RF Stock Photo
 Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_yeletkeshet’>yeletkeshet / 123RF Stock Photo

 

Sleep? Not Me!

It’s happened again!

lost in thought

I’ve  caught myself staring off into space, not really paying attention to what’s going on around me as I formed the thoughts of the next scene of my book. I’m oblivious to what people are saying and doing. I’m sure every author has gone through this: that constant state of thinking ahead of what you want to write. Sometimes the make-believe world gets in the way the real world.

Have your ever had one of those nights where you just keep thinking of something over and over and over until finally nothing is going to solve the sleeplessness but to get out of bed, sit in front of the computer and write down what’s going on in your mind? And isn’t it amazing how once you’ve written that last word and click enter, you’re ready to go back to sleep with no problems? Your mind has released what it needed for you to write and now you can relax. At least until the next compelling thought comes along!

5813b922cb99a2fd6942f86b691e70e2 (2)

But writers aren’t the only ones to get caught in this maze of forgetfulness. I know many of my friends have admitted to getting in their car, driving to a destination and not remember doing the actual driving; their mind has been on something completely different. Sometimes it amazes me how we actually live and survive in this hectic world without having some kind of major accident happen to us. It’s as if our mind is able to compartmentalized itself. One part of your mind is going full throttle on working out your thoughts and ideas, while the other part of your mind is keeping you on the straight narrow and, hopefully, safe. The mind is truly a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

I’ve learned from experience not to judge somebody when I see a kind of dazed look on their face, or when they don’t answer my question right away. You never know where their mind has wandered off to; it might be a better conversation then they’re having with me, you never know.

untitled

So keep thoughts flowing keep, yourself safe and let your imagination roam. That’s what God gave it to us for, it’s what puts us on the elevation chart, higher than the animals.

And try to get a good night’s sleep!

The Next Block-Buster?

thF724QMJA

A question was recently raised on one of the writing forums that I read and it caught my attention. The question was; if your book were to be made into a movie, what would it be rated? This is a legitimate question; with today’s technology, there so many other things we do in our daily life that could apply to this question, so why not books too. We lounge around, interacting with technology rather than just reading. And let’s be honest; every writer would love to see their book made into a movie!  Can you picture the name of your book up there on the theater marquee?
So, I was thinking let’s go one step further and ask: who would you have star in a movie based on your book? Who would be that perfect actor/actress to play your lead? Would it be somebody known well-known, somebody from recent movie hits? Or would you pick an old favorite like Audrey Hepburn or Betty Davis? And (sometimes even more importantly) who would play your villain?  Will it be a dark and evil  type like Vincent Price?  Or maybe your villain will take everyone by surprise and be someone clean-cut and unexpected like Neal Patrick Harris?

 

th57PF5NH8

 

And then there’s all the minor roles; do you get well-known stars or do you look for new talent? Whatever you do the supporting roles can be just as important as your lead and as a writer you know how you’ve developed those rules down to the minute detail. You’ve taken the time to bring your reader into your mind and create details that will stick with them, from the very first page to the end. These details will describe the story, characters, settings and the emotions of your book. How will that portray on the big screen are; are you now setting yourself up to become screenwriters stead of a novelist? These are all things that you need to think about if you ever really want to fulfill that dream of seeing your book being made into a movie.

 

laptop-writing-579

 

Me? I think I’m going to stick to my laptop and creating a mental escape for my readers with written words. I’ll let somebody else worry about writing a screenplay for my books!

Our “Bags” of Words!

We all have at least one in our home.  It might be hanging on a door knob, tucked under the sink, or camouflaged in an attractive container, but they’re there; waiting for the next time we need them.  Be honest: you  have a Bag of Bags.

plasticbag1

You know the ones I mean.  You get them for every little thing you buy.  From a small gift card (that you could have easily placed in your purse) to the one so over filled with groceries that it splits half way up the walk to the front door.  It’s something every store give you, why they don’t even ask the old phrase “paper or plastic” any more!  And we know that they need to be recycled, so we collect them, usually putting all in one bag until it’s overflowing.  Then they get stuffed somewhere out of sight until needed for what ever job you use them for (personally, mine are kept by the cat’s litter box for-well you know).

I was thinking this morning, as I was pulling a bag out of the bright orange cloth bag I keep them all in, that these could be a symbol for our language, too.  Think about it.  There are so many words just in the English language, and we only use a small percent of them.  Most of us fall back on the same words over and over, even though we know that there are other words that could say the same thing!  Often the words we speak aren’t even “real” words at all.  They may be slang or regional words that we use to fit in with those we are talking to.  (Just count the number of times I use “word”)

But every one of us has access to our “bag” of words.  There is no excuse for us not to extend our vocabulary and express our thought more articulately.  Look on your desk, or bookshelf…there it is, you see it?  They are thick and full of wonderful tools.  Yes that’s it-your Dictionary and Thesaurus!!

th22YBWYCO

Every one of us tells hundreds of stories every day.  Most of us do this with our normal conversations with one another.  But some of us tell our stories in the written form.  And we all read!  From the simple children’s tale to the great literary masterpieces.  Some of us truly love to read, other would prefer to be read to.  This can be done by a parent reading to a child to anyone watching TV or a movie.  Think about it; the actors are portraying words that someone wrote; maybe as a screenplay, or a newscast.  At some point the actions you are seeing had to be WRITTEN down somewhere.  Even those dreaded electric games our children seem glued to have written directions on their screens.

th0GNTFK3D

Words are our tools to communicate.  The more we know, the better we can express ourselves.  So crack open that dictionary or thesaurus and find a new word to replace a common word in your vocabulary!

Big Words, Little Words

th5DI25D0R

Writers have a job to do, and words are our tools.  Words that can create a world away from our day-to-day life, words that can teach us, words that will make us laugh or cry, words that will make us wonder.

As a writer it is not just about stringing random words together.  We have a story to tell and we need to understand our reader to insure that they enjoy what we are creating with our pen (or keyboard).  Personally, when I am reading a cozy mystery (like the ones I write), a romantic comedy or “Chick Lit” I do not want to be bombarded with scientific mumbo-jumbo while I’m trying to enjoy the author’s words.  I want the words of the story to match the mood of the book, and so do most readers.

2662712c06c60e75f9869a2bc91b3396

On the other had, there are times when details and technical terms are a necessary part of the story.  Would you believe in a medical drama that used the words boo-boo?  Of course not.  The words need to not only tell the story, but build the suspense and the back story and these details make the difference.  Research or life experiences will give the author the confidence to weave a story that will keep you interested from the opening page to the ending page.

No matter what type of book you read, the type of words will set the mood for your enjoyment.  From the mother reading  her child’s favorite book, to the adult catching some private time out in the garden with the newest block buster; the words matter.6d563d64f75ad087e4fe43e1957876c2

So big words (medical suspense) to little words (children’s books) just read….

Remember Dr. Seuss has sold millions of books all based on rhyming little words!