Inspiration: The First Step on the Writer’s Path

Where do our characters come from? What inspires us as fiction writers to delve into the world of the imagination, into the barely remembered past, seeking story lines and the characters who lead us into them?

Inspiration lies everywhere, in simple things of daily life. I’ve gotten some of my best ideas in the middle of washing the dishes, or while taking a shower, always it seems when water is flowing and I can not quite reach a pen. I have to commit to an idea to make it mine, stop what I’m doing, dry my hands, find a pen and paper, and write that idea down. Only then does the idea begin to become mine, only then do my characters recognize that I may be as serious as they are about writing the novel we have not yet even begun.

I make notes, I listen to the silence, I allow myself to be drawn into another world. If the novel has wings, both the characters and I commit to take the same path for a while, to strive to transform their lives and their choices into a work of art. The act of creation is a beautiful thing, and it always begins with the first spark of inspiration, an idea that comes into my mind like a flash, and leaves just as quickly. I have to be ready to stop what I’m doing, to set the pause button on my life, and write it down. Once the shadow of inspiration is captured on paper, only then can my characters and I begin to create.

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