Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inspiration (or Lack Thereof)

I'm waiting for some inspiration.

My shiny new idea has a few things going for it:
  • a fantastic setting (Hong Kong!)
  • great characters (this protag cracks me up)
  • an intriguing problem (someone's gone missing)
But it's lacking something very important:

that high concept hook that pulls everything together!!!

Until I work that part out, I'm sort of stuck. I can't move forward until I know what's bonding these characters to one another.

I've had a few horrible ideas:
  • dreams (over-used?)
  • e-mails or letters (too weird)
  • dance (huh?)
  • visitations (I'm not sure I want this to be a ghost story) 
I know I'm being very cryptic, but the point is I NEED INSPIRATION. I'm terrified that all my ideas for that big, overarching HOOK are coming from other books I'm reading. *shudders*

Have you ever been stuck like this before? Where do you find inspiration?


  1. Hi Amy .. I get overwhelmed with too many ideas for blog posts .. but I plod through! Not sure what I'd do if I wrote stories .. when I write posts I often only add the title at the end. Write the story ... start - the hook will, for you I hope, follow!? It is still summer though - plenty going on and time to mull .. good luck - cheers Hilary

  2. Yep, feeling a little bit like this RIGHT NOW. Have some chocolate, cuddle the baby, and wait for it. (At least that's what I'm doing!) :)

  3. I don't think you can push inspiration or the muse, but keep on showing up on the page. I have a story with a plot that's been percolating for several years, but it was missing something. A while back, another idea meshed with it, and that's what'll hold the book together. Two disparate but now very related ideas.

    In the meantime, I second lots of ruminating, day-dreaming, playing with the kids. It'll come ...

  4. I always get stuck in the planning phase. I tend to go for a run or take a long drive and mull it over, but what usually works is scribbling in my journal. I write down the question I need to answer and then write down every single thing that comes to mind, even if it's ridiculous. That method never fails.

  5. we are kind of on the same wave length this week. I blogged about how important it is to have that one short sentence or high-concept hook when you pitch these days. I'm mostly convinced we have to have that hook before we ever start writing. We definitely need to have it by the time the story is complete.

  6. Just think of the worst possible thing that can happen to your characters and go with it. Whether you keep it or not, it will get the juices flowing!

  7. I found myself needing inspiration once and I looked up at the night sky while coming home from a day of hiking in Acadia National Park.

    And an idea was born.

    It will come. Just let it mull around in there awhile. Then POOF, it will be there.

    That's my advice. haha. :)

  8. I think we've all been there. I mean, you read a book, and it feels like the story came that way . . . whole complete, no part missing. But we writers know better.

    But it'll come. It always amazes me how the ideas keep coming.

  9. Hope you find what you need to get the story going"

  10. VISITATIONS!! haha. You know... one thing I liked about To Kill a Mockingbird (and I don't know why I thought of this) was how creepy Boo was... half the story you don't really understand what he is/why he sneaks around. You could have a major creep factor in a similar way without getting ghosty. Just a thought. :)

    On a side note, there is a SLIGHT chance I may be going to Hong Kong in October o_O We must discuss.

  11. No, but not being a writer, i wouldn't be stuck in this way. In other ways...yes. Sometimes taking a break from it might work, or (this idea is a brainstorming one from a course I've just completed!), starburst it..think of loads of questions that begin with either who, what, why, where,when,how and see what comes up.
    Oh, and believe that it will come, cos it will. That bit is mine, not the course! Mx

  12. That sounds like it'll be so cool, Amy! Know what I do when I'm going through this? I read Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell (of course I'm his biggest fan). That book always give me lots and lots of ideas for how to bring it all together. Good luck!