Sometimes a writer might say, 'I'm waiting for the mood to hit me,' or 'I'm searching for inspiration.' For me, inspiration comes in the form of books, movies and on occasion, music. I love stories, no matter what medium they come in. Hence I like to read short stories, novels and poetry. I love going to the cinema but I also enjoy watching a DVD at home, and I take pleasure in listening to music which spirits me far away. My imagination takes off when I indulge in any of these passions.
Recently I experienced a rare bout of writer's block. I hesitate to use that term, as I don't believe in it, or it might be more accurate to say that I refuse to believe in it. Looking back on that occasion, it would appear that a combination of stress, financial worry, and fatigue (not to mention a slight cold still hanging on from winter) robbed me of any inspiration or motivation to write. So I chose to read a novel instead. The next day I was back writing again, having been sufficiently inspired.
Which novelists in particular fire my imagination? While I enjoy the classics immensely, I am not writing a literary novel nor trying to pen a classic so that genre won't inspire me with my own book. If I want inspiration for my debut novel, I must choose books which are in the same genre as mine (action-thriller set in Japan) or at least contain elements of the same genre. Hence I need to read contemporary authors who write action thrillers, suspense, human-drama, or books which contain some culture-based fiction and/or stories based on history. So whose books do I read?
Who are your favorite novelists? Which novels or novelists inspire you? Which of those author's books do you like best? When I think of Stephen King, my favorite book of his is The Stand. It's an epic battle between good and evil, but 'end-of-the-world' scenarios also fascinate me (when they are done well that is). The novel, It, was awesome in the way it took the characters from childhood into adulthood, and how it showed the depth of their friendship. The Shining is a terrific example of paranormal fiction, as is Firestarter, and The Shining also portrays a character's frightening descent into insanity. King is also a genius at writing human drama, as is evidenced in such novels as Green Mile, Misery, Hearts in Atlantis and especially the novella Shawshank Redemption – truly brilliant.
While I find Matthew Reilly's action thrillers exciting to read, his novel Temple really impressed me, especially the way he incorporated a book within a book, with regard to the use of an old diary in the course of the story. A lot of these concepts and techniques inspired me when writing my debut novel. Which novels stand out in your memory from your favorite authors? Why? What was it about those books that impressed you or hooked you? Was there a book that changed your way of thinking, maybe even your life? One book that really stunned me was Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code.
Of course everyone wants to write the next Da Vinci Code or the next 'best seller'. But to do that, sometimes you need quality inspiration. You need to see some magic in action before you feel as if you can create some on your own. Occasionally our imagination is like a car – we can only drive our stories so far before our fuel tank runs out, and then we need to 'fill up' again somewhere before continuing on down that literary highway.
Here’s hoping that you can find the inspiration you need to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be. Have a great week! Best wishes.
See you on the shelf!