I am grateful for inspiration and the magic that happens when you create. Whether it’s a painting, a story or music, inspiration ramps up the creativity to a wild feverish pitch. Even when it comes from my husband:
“I was thinking.” My husband said, as we sipped martinis by the fire…No, seriously, as I showed him cars on Carfax on my laptop.
“Yeah?” I asked, not really wanting him distracted from my goal of a car this year.
“Imagine finding a murdered body in a car on the side of the road,” he said, not even looking at the 2006 Jaguar on my monitor…
“What about this car?” I asked.
“Seriously, listen to me. I saw a car broken down on Route 40 on my way home from Wilmington this morning.”
“Yeah?” I said, thinking not too much about this random abandoned car… “Was it a silver 2006 Jaguar?”
“Sure, whatever, but it had a vulture standing in front of it.”
“…huh?” I immediately set aside my laptop and visualized this. “So, you saw the vulture in the rear view mirror after you passed the car?”
“Exactly, but wait… what if it was on a side road, a dirt road –off the main road and you look over to see a car with a vulture on the roof, another on the hood and a few circling in the sky above…?”
“Yeah, that was what I was thinking you need in the book.”
“Yeah…” I said. “Maybe that’s how she finds her partner.”
Inspiration is a wooly beast that I take wherever and whenever it arrives. It can lurk in plain sight. It jumps out from behind doors and screams “Boo!” Or it bursts from the mouth of my dear husband, who is my excellent beta-reader and editor. Mostly, for me, it emerges yawning and scratching, as I sip my morning coffee. I stare at the page on my laptop and then look up to the treetops on the hill outside my window. I reread where I ended the previous day and resist the urge to visit FaceBook. I imagine the paths my characters can take and begin to write. Usually, I am surprised when a character suddenly does something unexpected. Hey! I say, you can’t propose to Natasha, I am killing you today!
“Oh, no, you are not!” My character says. “You need me to show the reader how lonely the main character feels as she reacts to her friend’s happy news… I can always die later.” Fine, whatever. As I write, I smile because inspiration is swirling around my head and their relationship provides a happy respite to the approaching doom and gloom. My fingers fly and trip and I go back to change ‘teh’ to ‘the’ and wonder why Scrivener didn’t auto-correct? Soon, the happy couple is on the floor having wild sex as the main character drives away to meet the new Police Chief, someone with whom. she will want to have wild sex –eventually.
Sometimes inspiration becomes a binge-fest and suddenly, in the midst of your espionage book, you think of the perfect passage in your straight-up romance novel, the other book that is 95% finished. Now, you face the moment of strength, the test of your will-power. Why are the crows sitting in the apple tree, acting like the vultures in the romance book? No, you can not have a murder! Oh, wait, maybe her dog is sick, it ate something bad it found in the yard… or it is injured… Oh, no! The heroine is frantic and she calls the tall, hunky Sheriff for help… wait, why are all my current heroes in law enforcement? Damn it! Must stay on target. Write quick sticky note and stick on window.
Back to the spies and with head down, I plow ahead. Inspiration is the seed but like everything you plant in the garden, that is only the beginning of the work. Each seed needs to be nurtured and your garden grows, each in its own season. Today, it’s spies poking their little heads from the rich humus of your mind. Tomorrow, you can work on the other seed.