Story Inspiration Sunday


This week’s inspiration is a bit different. Okay, so most of these posts are a bit different. This one’s a little bit more so.

I’ve been writing full time now for a few weeks. And by writing, I mean standing (or sitting) at my keyboard for most of the day making stuff up and writing the next novel.

I’m pleased with the progress: I’m a bit over 40,000 words into a 60,000 word novel. I achieved that in about eight days.

But how did I do that? I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have an outline. I had a few vague clues about what the novel would be about. Didn’t know where it was going. Didn’t know how it was going to end.

Still sat my butt down (or stood) and wrote. And kept writing. And then, wrote some more.

I found that I had to keep asking and answering two questions:
–Who speaks next?
–What happens next?

This novel has nine POV characters. It’s been quite a juggling act, going from one to the next to the next, making sure that the plot is moving forward on each story. Every one of these POV characters is the center of their universe, and 100% convinced and certain that what they’re doing is the right thing. They are completely justified, even if it means whole-scale killing of a bunch of other people.

I keep coming back to–who speaks next? It’s been interesting that the question gets answered pretty quickly. I didn’t always understand why the next person was the person to speak. A couple of times I believed the scene should be told from a different person’s POV. But by the time I finished the scene, I knew that my muse/subconscious/inner writer had been correct: This scene had to be told from that particular POV, because it had to reveal X, which would become important or was already important.

But how was I inspired to keep writing? To keep coming back to the keyboard hour after hour?

A big part of it has been curiosity. I had no idea what’s going to happen next. I won’t until I write it. I can kind of see the ending at this point–still not sure how I’m going to get there.

Another part of it was that even if I took a longer break, like over night, the next POV character would be talking to me. It was their turn, damn it! They’d been waiting long enough through all these other POV stories. Now it was their turn.

This novel hasn’t always been easy to write. There have been times when the words flowed like manna from heaven. Other times–not so much.

I can’t really tell you where all the inspiration for this novel came from. Where that next line, that next scene, that next character were born. Somewhere in the depths of my unconscious is this story. I’m directing it, a little. But mostly the inspiration is just there, flowing from me, like the words and the scenes.

So as I said at the start, this post is a bit of non-inspiration inspiration post. I’ve been trying to tease apart how I’m inspired to write as I have been, and it boils down to: Because I am. Because I must write. Because I am a writer, and this is what I do.




Story Inspiration Sunday — 3 Comments

  1. The other year I was writing a novel and I hit the wall. Something had to happen next, but I couldn’t quite get to it. So I did something I had never done before. I went to the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society’s meeting, where I was the featured speaker. And I recounted the entire novel as far as I had written it. Then I threw it out to the audience: what should happen next?
    There were all kinds of ideas, everything from Cthulhu awakening from slumber to an invasion of the Mole Men. None of them hit the spot. But somehow, contemplating all these decidedly unsuitable paths, the real path became clear. And no, it did not involve Cthulhu.

      • I have never done it before and will probably never do it again. I can collaborate on shorter works, but my novels are my sole domain — ‘I shall reign like Alexander, and I shall reign alone.’ But clearly I have to thank PSFS in the end notes, because their contribution was wildly helpful to the back brain. I easily added another 250,000 words to the thing…