NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Monday, April 27, 2015

Inspiration Needs A New Form

All writers need inspiration. Where do you find yours?

For me, inspiration comes from the “what if” scenario: What if your neighbor turns out to be a serial killer? What if the supermarket at the end of your street is a cover for an international drugs cartel? What if the pale-skinned old man who owns the second-hand bookshop is actually a ghost?

Most writers relish these observations and use them as a launching pad for stories. When my husband and I were battling through a dense thicket of bushes and small trees wedged between the Snake River and the cliff bank soaring above us, I remember telling him, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?” 

That remark grew into So About The Money, a fun, amateur sleuth my agent currently has on submission.

Recently, I been crazy busy between the day job and packing (shredding, wrapping, tossing, gifting) everything we own in preparation for a move into a place 1/4th the size of our current digs, while we build a new house. Well, while assorted crews of craftsmen build the house, but I digress.

So… there’s no time to write, other than in snatched moments. Those snatched moments, however, can lend humor. I’ve discovered the voice recorder on my phone returns gibberish – or maybe it’s my Southern accent that turns reasonable statements into sentences that…well…aren’t remotely reasonable.

But the resulting text is enough that I can at least, sorta remember where I was going with the scene idea.  Then there are the scribbles on the backs of envelopes and sticky notes. Where would we be without sticky notes?

And I’m dreaming like mad. For some weird reason (I’m sure the mental health people can analyze, except I’d really hate it if they did), when I don’t have the creative outlet from writing (or painting or fusing glass or oops, another tangent), all those wild ideas invade my sleep.

What about you? How do you handle it when the rest of your life is overwhelming your writing time? 



13 comments:

Rita said...

OMG! I am totally a what iffer. Sometimes to the point of obsession. When my children were small we played a storytelling game. What if. I'd start it off with something crazy then they would finish the story.

Toni Anderson said...

I get into trouble with what ifs when they get out of control. Last shopping mall trip we had a zombie apocalypse meeting place :)

I can't wait to see your new house, Cathy :)

When I can't write I get snappy and hemmed in.

Elise Warner said...

I have a huge pile of small, tattered notebooks that fit in my purse. Walks, the subway and buses (Waiting for them lately with all the construction going on in the city) gives me an opportunity to observe. Have also discovered--rather late in life--that I can write on the bus. Get home and transfer plus usually add when I get to my computer. When your new house is finished, please post a photo, Cathy.

Sandy Parks said...

Yep, that would be hubby and me, off in some remote place and imagining how it would fit into some exotic/deadly/adventurous story line. Thanks for the fun blog.

Cathy Perkins said...

Rita - love the "what if" game with your kids!

Shh- I secretly hate all the button mashing toys kids are handed instead of letting them exercise their creativity (what if!) and experience hands on doing
Rant over

Cathy Perkins said...

There could TOTALLY be a zombie apocalypse while you're shopping, Toni! (reading Cold Dark Place, by the way :) ) Awesome that you anticipated that event

Toni Anderson said...

I hope you enjoy, Cathy 😃

Anne Marie Becker said...

Good luck with the move, Cathy! Sounds like a lot of work.

I'm a huge fan of sticky notes - color-coded by character POV, of course. I have them stashed in a couple places in the house so if an idea strikes, I can jot it down, then stick it in my planner or in the project notebook (if it happens to be nearby). ;)

jean harrington said...

Went to a lecture this morning by mystery writer Hank Phillippi Ryan. At the end of her talk, she said the most frequently asked question of all writers is, "Where do you get your ideas?"

After giving a couple of instances that were the germinating starts to her books she said a famous person (didn't name him) was once asked where he got his ideas from and he said, "Schenectady."

Witty comeback?

Cathy Perkins said...

@Elise - I started carrying those little notebooks when I was reduced to scribbling on the back of a check one day. I found a stash of them while clearing out/packing up my office!

It may be a while before a photo is available. The architect was 4 months late delivering construction drawing so we're putting most of our belongings into storage for the duration. Hopefully there will at least be progress reports :)

Cathy Perkins said...

@Sandy - thanks for stopping by.

And you know, that a completely legitimate reason to head out for someplace new and exotic. Honey, I need inspiration for my next book :)

Cathy Perkins said...

I love sticky notes @Anne Marie!

Yes - one color for each POV character :)

Since my last two books have been single POV, I use different colors for internal and external conflict (and the dog has his own color to make sure he shows up in all the appropriate scenes!)

Cathy Perkins said...

@Jean - well, of course we ALL go to Schenectady for our ideas

There's an idea factory there. Granted, it's a covert operation - we'll fill you in later if you haven't already learned it's secret location.

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