Friday, November 5, 2010

Guest Post: K.M. Weiland!

Please welcome our special guest on the blog, author, mentor, editor, K.M. Weiland!

K.M. Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in the sandhills of western Nebraska. She enjoys mentoring other authors through her writing tips, editing services, workshops, and her recently released instructional CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration.

Multi-Media Inspiration

We live in a world that is saturated with artistic creativity (some more artistic and creative than others, admittedly). If you’re a writer, this is a very good thing. It means that inspiration is all over the place. All we have to do is open a magazine, read a book, turn on the television, or switch to a new radio station. In my recently released CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration (, I specifically touch upon how to use music to up our creative output. But we can tap into all kinds of media for an extra-inspiration boost. Following are some ideas:

Create story-specific playlists. Every time you hear a song that fits your story or inspires some new aspect, save it on a playlist on your computer. You’re creating your own personalized story soundtrack! Whenever you need a dab of inspiration, give it a listen. Plus, it’s great fun for sharing with your readers, when the book is published. (You can listen to the soundtrack for my medieval novel Behold the Dawn here (

· As an addendum to the above, don’t forget to give each character a theme song. Not only is it fun, but it can help distill the character’s personality and inner goals.

· Cast your characters. We all dream of getting our NYT bestselling book made into a blockbuster movie. So why wait on the all-important decision of choosing which actors should play your characters? Putting a face, voice, and gestures to your characters (particularly minor characters) can work wonders for bringing them to vivid three-dimensional life.

· Visualize your story as a movie. Whenever I’m approaching a tricky scene, I stop, close my eyes, and try to visualize what the scene would look like in a movie. I visualize everything: angles, lighting, stage directions. I even try to conjure up a soundtrack sometimes. And the results are pretty interesting.

· Keep a photo album. Thanks to the Internet, tracking down specific photos and bookmarking them or saving them to your computer is the easiest thing in the world. For every novel I write, I keep folders within folders of inspiring pix, everything from the characters themselves to settings to costumes to vehicles to pets. Not only are the pictures an endless well of inspiration, but they also come in handy for maintaining consistency in details.

· Create props. Sometimes a handful of props can come in very handy for inspiring or choreographing a scene. For my upcoming fantasy Dreamers (, I used a sword-shaped letter opener in planning battle scenes. If your character receives an important letter, write the letter out for yourself and play around with the crinkle of the envelope. If a stolen necklace features prominently, buy a cheap replica and wear it while writing.

Who says writing has to be confined to words on paper? If we branch out from our notebooks and pens or our keyboards and word processors, we may find that a whole interactive world of inspiration is waiting for us to discover and play with.

Thank you, K.m.! *applauds* It's nice to know my fantasy casting can be seen as inspiration, rather than procrastination!

You can also find K.M. Weiland blogging at
On twitter and on facebook.


  1. Thanks so much for coming to our blog--these tips are amazing. I just finished my second YA novel and the entire thing played out like a movie in my head, so I agree it was super helpful with the layout of scenes. And the entire story came from a dream I had after hearing a specific song for the first time. Listening to the song never failed to get me in the writing mood! :)

  2. Kristi, I am so curious about this new MS! And now I want to know what song that is.

  3. Thanks so much for hosting me today, ladies!

    @Kristi: Sounds like you've definitely got the multi-media ideas going!

  4. I've just started to listen to music when I write, and it definitely makes a difference. Mind you, I usually end up crying. Seriously, man-up dude!

  5. This is a great post! I especially love the comment about speed bumps. I find whenever I hit a speed bump, it helps to move to a different scene, usually in the future. Writing that scene usually helps me to figure out what came before it and then I'm over the bump!

    Kristi - SO curious to read this now! You have to tell us the song when you send it!

  6. I will--I'm still waiting on yours though. :)

  7. Awesome post. I do the same thing as Valerie when I hit a speed bump.

  8. @Simon: Music is like a mainline to the emotions. Never fails to encourage some interesting thoughts!

    @Valerie: Changing things up is an almost surefire solution.

    @Nicole: I also find outlining backwards can be very helpful.

  9. What awesome tips!! I'm getting there. I downloaded images and made a powerpoint of them for my characters and now I'm trying that with the settings to help with my world building.

  10. I've never gone to the extent of creating a PowerPoint (wouldn't know where to start, actually!), but sometimes when I'm in need of extra inspiration, I'll put my file of pictures on slideshow while listening to a related song.

  11. Abosultely love this idea. Music and writing have always fit together, for me, but not this well. Keep up the good work!

  12. Everytime I check in at K.M.'s place, I come away with something helpful in my writing journey. Though I've not yet tried the music ideas, I do try to visualize my story as a movie. And I like the idea of the photo album. Thanks for the tips, and great interview :-)

  13. @Brayden: Writing and music are like two sides of the same coin. If writing is the skeleton, music is the soul.

    @Kenda: Visualizing the story as a movie is one of the single most helpful exercises I've encountered. It really helps solidify sketchy scenes.


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