Everyday Writing Inspiration

My last post discussed drawing writing inspiration from yourself and your inner circle. Everyday writing inspiration can also come from your daily routine. Look at what you do most days and see if it can generate sparks for stories. Here’s what I do most days of the work week.

  • Fix my oldest breakfast and pack lunch.
  • Feed the cat.
  • Drive my oldest to school.
  • Fix my youngest breakfast and pack lunch.
  • Drive my youngest to school.
  • Go to the grocery store.
  • Do housework
  • Write for blog and on my next novel.
  • Bike (when the weather is good).
  • Attend appointments.

So what inspiration can I derive from my daily routine? Well, the parking lots at both schools are usually nuts. The only reason there aren’t accidents is because everyone is driving slowly. It’d be a great place for a meet-cute in a romance. Widowed dad bumps fenders with single mom, and their relationship is off to a rocky start. I could use our outdoor cat as a meet-cute too. Woman is worried when her outside cat misses a meal. When she goes looking for him, she meets her cute new neighbor.

My outdoor cat could kick off a mystery. When the cat misses a meal, his ten-year-old owner gathers his neighborhoods friends to look for him. The kids find the cat in an abandoned house and discover something strange in the house–evidence someone is living there or a secret room in the basement.

Changes in patterns of behavior is a great way to start a story. Such as the elderly neighbor who always waves as a mom drives her kids to school. For three mornings is a row, she doesn’t appear. What’s going on? Or the neighbor is still in her yard but quits waving. Having a character ride a bike or jog in the same area every day would allow him to notice a change, such as a house that always had an immaculate yard hasn’t had the grass mowed in two weeks.

What everyday writing inspiration can you think of?

Analyzing the Mood of a Setting

One thing I enjoy about visiting new places is analyzing the mood of a setting. Of course, the mood I bring to a location will affect how I perceive it, but I also try to examine the “vibe” a place gives off, independent of how I’m feeling at the time.

For example, I visited a library in a small city. Now I’m predisposed to love libraries because I’ve used them since I was a child and was a children’s librarian for ten years. But I wasn’t in the building long before I felt uncomfortable and even depressed. This wasn’t a friendly library. So I tried to figure out why I felt that way. Signs were posted warning patrons about rules. The library was extra quiet. Although the staff was polite, they weren’t friendly, as if they had other things to do than wait on patrons. I have the impression that removing books from the shelves would have been frowned upon.

Once I’ve dissected the mood of a place, I can file it away for possible use in a story.

Want to try out your analysis of setting? Check out these setting prompts.

Do you analyze the mood of a setting? How do you write about it?

Inspiration for Creating Characters

I’m a character writer. I can’t start a story until I have a good grasp of most of my major characters. I usually start with a face that catches my attention for some reason, but there are so many other ways for finding characters. If you need inspiration for creating characters, try the suggestions below.

  • Yearbooks–especially if you are writing historical fiction
  • Paintings
  • Crowds–for finding faces and for overhearing passing conversations. The way somebody talks or a comment about someone can spark a character.
  • Old movies–and I mean old. Look at movies from the ’30’s, 40’s and 50’s. You might be surprised at the casting choices of old Hollywood.
  • Songs--I’ve always thought “Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles would make a perfect noir, as long as one of the three characters described in the lyrics is killed. Click here for more on songs as writing inspiration.
  • Poems
  • BibleClick here for my post on the Bible as writing inspiration.
  • Friends and relatives–although use them with caution. I never take a someone I know and dump them into a story as a whole character. They may not care for the character I choose for them.
  • Free image sites--I use Pixabay. I use the search term “portrait” or “faces” and see what comes up. Below are the portraits that have turned into characters.

Her name is Coral. She’s twelve. She loves working outdoors on the family farm with her father and grandfather. She also loves animals, both domestic and wild, and hates everything about school.

Her name is Egypt. She’s twenty-two. Her grandfather calls her Gyp. She fights with him but is very loyal to him and has an explosive temper.

Now it’s your turn. Where do you find inspiration for creating characters?

How Much of You is in Your Characters?

Since we’re talking about writing inspiration this month, I wondered how much of you is in your characters? I put an awful lot of me in my teen detective Rae Riley. Like me, she’s quiet, works in a library, likes to figure people out, and worries too much about what people think of her. Of course, Rae is a lot braver at nineteen than I ever was. I also sprinkle a bit of my personality into other characters, like Rae’s aunt, who is a writer.

Some of my characters are people I would like to be. Rae’s grandmother is a very laid-back person, which I am definitely not. It takes something cataclysmic to make Gram worry and I love writing about someone who isn’t like me at all.

Want more character inspiration? Click here. For more on finding inspiration for our stories, check out this article on The Write Conversation.

I’d love to hear how much of you is in your characters.

For 2023, the Journey of a Book

Happy New Year! I hope the year is off to a great start for you, even if it’s only two days old. If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know I have a monthly theme. I will stick to that schedule for this year too but with an added twist. For 2023, the Journey of a Book will be the overarching theme for the entire year. All the monthly themes will support the theme of how a book is produced, from inspiration to publication, including literary techniques and requirements for specific genres. I’ll be writing from my own experience and having other authors share theirs.

Speaking of other authors–if you are a writer and would like to guest blog for me, please click on the button “Contact’ in the top menu bar and fill out the form. If you’d like to read previous guest blog posts, click here.

The monthly themes for 2023 are below.

  • January: Inspiration–anything about how to find ideas for stories
  • February: Romance
  • March: YA
  • April: Setting
  • May: Historical fiction
  • June: Characters
  • July: Christian fiction
  • August: Plot
  • September: The business of publishing
  • October: Mystery
  • November: National Novel Writing Month
  • December: Editing

A gust blog post should be 400-600 words long. That count doesn’t include a short bio with social media links. I will also need a headshot. If you have a meme with the title of your guest post, send that along too. If you are a published author, I will feature one book. I will need a cover, buy links, and blurb.

If you have experiences that other writers should learn about, please join me for the Journey of a Book. We can all grow in our art by learning from one another!

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑