Monday, July 11, 2011
Creativity: Where do you find it?
No matter how important your writing is, do you ever find yourself struggling for the creative spark? Many books written in the same genre have similar aspects. With my first love, historical fiction, I can be assured there will be at least one epic confrontation or battle scene and a test of the main character's survival skills against terrible odds. After years of reading such stories, there are common themes that always emerge, something that feels very familiar. Sometimes, we're all drawing from the same well of inspiration. I think writer's block results - we want to be creative, but it's next to impossible without an original idea in mind.
Many authors who write historical fiction turn an original idea on its head, such as a non-virginal Queen Elizabeth I, or with stories writen from the perspective of the losers in history, rather than its victors. I prefer to write about the history that hasn't been explored as well as the Tudor, Renaissance and Regency periods. The era I choose is a framework that allows me to do a bit of world-building, but that's only half the struggle to feel inspired. To truly be creative, I let music, my environment and people influence me. When I need some rousing battle scene, I blast Carl Orff's Carmina Burana from my computer speakers. I'm sure my family thinks this is strange and annoying all at once. If my character has a rare quiet moment of deep introspection, I create a similar mood by turning off the music, TV, whatever sounds might interfere. I'm also a great people watcher. Nothing like a pair of dark shades and a park bench for catching people at the moment where powerful emotions are on display. Whether it's a couple walking hand in hand or arguing, a parent and child enjoying the warm sunshine, people and their behavior are great sources.
Where do you find creative influences? How do you use them to write?
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