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Inspiration is, uh, inspirational?

I read a post at Kristen Lamb’s blog the other day titled Finding Inspiration from Unlikely Sources, and it got me thinking about where the heck do I find my inspiration.

Ideas are one thing. I grab those just about every time I get up in the morning. Heck, even when I don’t get up, I often have ideas banging around in my skull and oftentimes too many to figure out what I’m thinking. Ideas are a dime a dozen, to use a cliché (which you’re always told in writing courses is a big no-no). I’d mentioned in the feedback on Ms. Lamb’s blog that a few years ago my daughter had been hopping about, clapping her hands, and patting her shoulders while playing something she’d made up and that had inspired a Seussian title in me. But I had erred.

After a bit of reflection, I realized that inspiration is whatever kicks the drive to put those ideas into practice. My daughter’s playtime activities gave me the idea of a title. Some definitions would state that I was inspired, yet having since then jotted a few notes on what might follow that title, I’ve allowed the idea to lapse. If I had truly been inspired, I would have sat down and thoroughly worked the idea until it sparkled. But maybe not. Maybe what I felt was delayed inspiration.

When my kids were younger and at home all the time I often listened to/watched an hour or so of Nick Jr. every day while jotting notes for whatever story I was working on at the time or for whatever game I was running, or making to do lists, or folding clothes or whathaveyou while my kids took a snack break from playing. During the week we’d have episodes of Blue’s Clues, Dora the Explorer, Diego, The Backyardigans, and various other shows. My kids also enjoyed playing Candyland whenever they could talk me into it. The repetitious nature of the Nick Jr. shows and that colored striped board and its cast of characters somehow melded and gave me the idea for a series of adventures for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I was running at the time. I took notes, figured out stats and backgrounds for various characters in the adventures, and finally ran them for my group of players. They loved it, even the ones who aren’t married and/or have children. In this case, I was inspired: an idea occurred and I took action.

All rambling aside, this brings me to ideas for the next project that Nathan and I are tossing about. He’d originally suggested something about animals that know kung fu. Based on that, an image of Tigress (from Kung Fu Panda) dressed in S.W.A.T. riot gear of some sort came to mind in addition to that of a water buffalo similarly dressed and lugging around a tank buster of some sort. That image stuck with me. We’ve kicked about the possibility of going with modern or futuristic since Nathan has already worked something similar and/or seen too many projects with a (quasi-) historical or fantasy settings. So we’re going with a far flung future and anthropomorphic characters. He’s already posted a teaser concerning his thought process in development here. I know the tiger and water buffalo characters will figure in somehow, but I don’t know where yet. Is it merely a dime-a-dozen idea on my part or was that image inspirational?

Maybe we’ll know by next week.

Where do you find you inspiration?


3 responses »

  1. Inspiration is all around; kids, kids in class, life, stupid stuff, smart stuff, food stuff, sex stuff…it’s like the force…sorry had to go there :). I don’t think about what kind of inspiration the way you seem to, if it catches my attention for good or bad, I write about it. Writing about it can be the blog or in my giant notebook of notes and thoughts.

    The sales pitch by the way was Kungfu Panda. I didn’t think you would go for it, recognizing it as Kungfu Panda. However, good things come from the oddest sources, which is why the writer in my is happy to grappling with this latest round of inspiration. Traveling mercenaries that is where the heroes fit it and trust me the hyena’s are not the good guys.

  2. That’s one of the reasons I claim you to be an actual writer whereas I’m more of a wannabe. I call myself a writer, but I don’t sit down and pound the keyboard every day like you do. Ideas come to me, but seldom to they chokehold me, slam me against the desk, and hold me there until I’ve hammered them out on the keyboard, written them in a notebook, or scrawled them in blood across the desktop (OK, maybe not the last one).

  3. Pingback: New Co-Authored Story Update « M. Darin Young

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