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.
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 (http://www.kmweiland.com/books_CWBASI.php), 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 (http://www.kmweiland.com/free.php#playlist).)
· 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 (http://www.kmweiland.com/WIPs.php#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!