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  • Inspiration...

    To anyone out there who's an author, published or otherwise...

    Have you ever been out somewhere, shopping maybe, restaurant, work, wherever, and had a flash of inspiration?
    Have you ever shut off all else to work out all the subtle nuances and effects of that inspiration upon your existing project, to find that it is THE single perfect solution to something that had been bugging you for months?
    Have you ever had to remember it because you're not in a position to drop everything and scribble everything down for later reference?
    Have you ever sat down the next available opportunity, to get it all down on paper/word processor/whatever, only to find YOU'VE FORGOTTEN THE KEY POINT, WITHOUT WHICH THE REST IS SO MUCH CRAP!!!


    No doubt it'll come to me as I'm falling asleep tomorrow, and I'll have forgotten it when I wake up...

  • #2
    Ha! I do vocals in a band so I write a lot of songs. I always carry a pad and paper with me to scribble down anything that comes to mind. I'll drop everything to get an idea down on paper.
    Regret achieves nothing. Regret breeds weakness. Regret is a cancer which attacks the body's vital organs and eventually destroys.


    • #3

      Well, each and every song i have written have come like that. I am watching a movie and BAM, have to pause it and start writting. Eating at Joe's and BAM, on my way home, even though i keep singing the melodies, i forget it and there goes that would be nice song. So, i have decided not to leave my home anymore, and i find it really nice, to be locked up all day long, with little strolls to the video store and and... sometimes catch a movie on a theater and so i can write everything down as it comes. Sure, my RPG buddies and my girlfriend and my "take me out for a stroll" dogs do not like it so much, but... a man's got to do what a man's got to do.
      kidding. Just a little.


      • #4
        This is surely the classic dilemma - think of Kubla Khan and the catastrophic Man from Porlock!
        There are two forms of 'inspiration' that I personally 'get': 'Active' and 'Passive'. The first occurs usually when I am sitting at the craptop, or with a pad and pen, actively trying to conjure up something to fill the white space. It really is like playing with an amorphous lump of multicoloured clay until the shapes begin to form - then the ideas often trip each other off until you get a 'stream' of narrative or description or dialogue; then it'll go quiet for a bit while I fiddle about for the next 'sculpture'. The 'passive' or spontaneous form can occur anywhere - but most often (a) outside, on my bike or when I'm running, or fishing; (b) when I'm driving*; (c) when I'm about to fall asleep or in the dim borders of nepenthe prior to waking. The latter form is not dissimilar to 'lucid dreaming', in that vivid scenes, characters and events manifest unbidden, but can then be manipulated deliberately by my mind; this is where I find most of the more novel ideas come from. If I 'get' a vision that I particularly want to hang on to, I use the standard memorising technique of 'related images' - ie. I'll quickly make up a concoction of images and words relevant to the new concept, that 'fix' the idea in a web of associations - then write it down on the back of my hand, the wall, the cat, whatever as soon as possible!
        The idea of inspiration occuring most readily outdoors seems to have some scientific support - can't remember the reference, but there appears to be a positive correlation of intensity of novel creative thinking with periods spent outside. Perhaps Pratchett's idea of cosmic 'inspiration particles' is not far off the mark....! I feel this even more as my brain seems to get poarticularly overactive in the high mountains! A UV effect?

        One other type of 'inspiration' I get is the 'jumping out' of words or phrases from pages of otherwise unremarkable text; eg. I wanted a name for a character recently, a slightly bombed-out aging rock chick. I was flicking through my list of appointments for the evening: These are listed as 'Client Name': 'Animal Name': 'Complaint'. I came across: 'Reeves: Didi: Stiff'. And that's where 'Stiff' Didi Reeves came from! Yeah, I know it's a daft name, but I like it... :)
        *Not as dangerous as it sounds, although the images can get pretty real sometimes!


        • #5
          In case anyone was concerned, Didi Reeves (the cat) had a sore back and so was 'stiff'. She wasn't dead. I can't pretend I could help her much if that was the case. What am I, Herbert West? :D


          • #6
            I always carry a pad and paper with me to scribble down anything that comes to mind. I'll drop everything to get an idea down on paper
            I work for DHL, and have a really sweet position, to the degree that I can spend 75% of my working day either jotting down notes or reading, and still get the job done! All three of my immediate superiors are off, so I stepped up to fill the gap (didn't have to, but I did). Unfortunately, that involves acting as a banksman directing vehicles and other safety conscious responsibilities, so I couldn't drop everything on this one instance. I SO wish I'd stayed in the office now!!! I've remembered most of what I had, but there's that one little thing bugging me, and it's really annoying now!!!


            • #7
              I always carry a pad and paper with me to scribble down anything that comes to mind. I'll drop everything to get an idea down on paper.
              I should really start doing that - I have a notoriously bad memory
              Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

              Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!


              • #8
                I have a pen in nearly every jacket or coat that I wear plus something to scribble things on (old bills or receipts in my wallet). In my car there are several pencils plus pad, because pens tend to dry out in the climate changes a car goes through. My former cell-phone had a "dictation"-function which was quite useful (unless you forget you spoke something on it ), the new one has one too, but it is too complicated. Best is to have an assistant or batman you can throw in the dungeons if he forgets to remind you!
                Google ergo sum


                • #9
                  My wife throws me into the shed when I forget things - putting the bins out, taking the milk in, paying the mortgage, the average rainfall in the Amazon's hard.


                  • #10
                    Being fascinated with the fine line between technological automations and humanity that uses it's free will to behave like automations, I get a lot of insparation from SPAM messages. This summer at the 10th Annual Olympia Experimental Music Festival (which I actually started a decade ago) I took several pages of the better heading from such messages and had four different computer voices read them into cassettes and then used those recordings as our vocal track for our performance titled Cows Eat Herring for New Milk (not a SPAM title actually, I also like to mine weird news headlines.)

                    I just got an e-mail that has to be used as a Dead Air Freshers song title: "Codddled and Dissolvable Lozenges for Serious Fellows." That one might have to be an album title!
                    My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board


                    • #11
                      Ooh...I was very interested in the early Cabaret Voltaire and the experimental Dadaist work of Kirk/ Mallinder - 'found' sounds, cut-ups, etc. The whole Sheffield Industrial movement. Sounds like just your kind of thing, Dead-Air! Congrats on founding the festival - it sounds good. My personal favourite for an album title came from a comment made by an altitude-sick friend of mine near the summit of the Dufourspitze in the Alps - 'Shall We See Penguins?'*

                      But the lozenges have it, I feel...

                      *Obviously, no.


                      • #12
                        Yes, certainly a fan of Cabaret Voltaire here, and of course Burroughs before them in the cut-up field. My use of cassettes was probably a bit of a nod to the first generation, along with an attempt to organicize the process by bringining in some lo-fi analog. Putting voices to the SPAM was certainly fascinating as it really sounded like people talking although I'm certain the words were machine generated and the voices were certainly machines. Taking absolute commercial stupidity and creating something just shy or independent artificial intelligence.
                        My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board


                        • #13
                          Success!!! :D All is well now. It turns out that while the track I was going down seemed perfect, I would have been, in fact, directly contradicting something I'd decided upon earlier, in a different area of focus. I have to think that while this link wasn't consciously apparant to me my deep subconscious knew I was doing that and decided to make me forget, so I'd have to think it through again, this time spotting the mistake! And to think, I'm only really doing prep-work right now!!! Powers beyond help me when I actually get writing the first few books :lol: 1:43am. I got an hour and a half before I have to force myself to get the bare minimum amount of sleep! Time to get scribbling!