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What Inspires Writers


I am willing to bet that non-writers picture a writer living these extraordinary lives or somehow pulling the plot lines in their books from this air or from some secret  box hidden deep in their minds. And this may be true for some things but I imagine that most writers are inspired by little, average, ordinary, everyday things. Things that most people see and yet don’t really see.

Is that a little old man crossing the street or is it an alien from another world trying to blend in?
Is that an ordinary swimming pool or is it a series of pools, all with different colored water and magically enhanced so that when someone tells a tale, the person in the water can actually feel what the hero/heroine in the story is feeling?
What about the lady behind the counter of your favorite coffee shop that never smiles and barely greets anyone who comes in? Could she be the next character in your book?
When you look in the mirror, will you see your own face or someone elses?
Are you going away to boring old boarding school or are you going to attend a special school for witches and wizards?

Writers (and other artists as well) have this neat ability to see the world around them with different eyes. For me, inspiration for a book can come like a slap upside the head from simply doing my job.

I’m in my biology 101 lab classes this week going over the bones. We talk about the functions of the skeleton, what the parts are of a typical long bone, the various common bones of the human body, and several diseases of the skeletal system.So I’m giving my spiel about the functions of the skeleton and said something like this: “Just imagine what you would look like with no skeleton. You’d be a bunch of muscles and organs surrounded by skin all schlopped on the ground. You wouldn’t live long since the weight of your oozing form would crush your arteries.” All of a sudden, I pictured an alien species pointing a ray gun at some unsuspecting human explorer. The human screams once before falling to the ground in an undignified heap, his skeleton completely evaporated by the nifty ray gun.

Seriously. How cool would that be??!!??

I don’t know how many times I’ve given that same introduction and it never occurred to me until this week that I could actually use that description as something other than a way to help students to visualize what they would look like without bones.

I seriously can’t wait to come up with a story that I can use by De-Boning gun in…

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7 Comments on “What Inspires Writers”

  1. nrlymrtl February 22, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    And that is why so many of my favorite authors have also been studiers of biology/nature in one form or another. Because they know how to take things apart.

    • shayfabbro February 22, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      And we can really think of some sick stuff! lol

  2. A.M. Donovan February 22, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    De-Boning gun sounds like something invneted for chefs and used for nefarious purposes.

    • shayfabbro February 22, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      Good point. Maybe something like Osteodisintegrator? Osteoblastor?

  3. terrypersun February 22, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    You probably know that I relate completely. Being involved in engineering has given me the opportunity to see and talk about stuff that’s not even on the market yet. I haven’t seen your de-boner yet, but maybe soon. Oh, and maybe we don’t call it a de-boner just yet.

  4. jlgentry February 22, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    There is a bone joke in there somewhere. Good post. I find the simplest things, not even fully formed thoughts, will send me into a creative mode. I think you hit the right point that most writers are great observers. We just see things a little different than others!

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