This weekend was I invited to join a blog hop called Thursday’s Children where writers share the things that inspire them. I love this idea and am excited to participate so here is my first contribution. The first thing that jumps into my head where I hear the question: “What inspires you when you write?”
The very first thing that jumps into my head about what inspires me has to be music. Stories are inspired by a multitude of things – other books, films, the news, all sorts but when it comes to actually writing things down it has to be said that music really gets me going.
A lot of people think I’m very odd because I thoroughly enjoy long car or bus journeys. I don’t talk to anyone else unless they speak to me first and even then I will generally work to make the conversation short. I don’t read. I don’t play car games. What I do is put my headphones in my ears and stare contentedly out of the window. And that is me set for the next several hours. I love music and travelling feels like one of the few times when I can completely submerge myself in it without feeling guilty for not doing anything else. And as I look out of the window, I don’t really see anything that is going past. What I see are scenes inside my head, scenes whose pace and emotion are influenced by whichever song is currently on.
Music has such a strong ability to invoke emotion. I adore the way it can make your back tingle and your stomach squirm. So many of my most beloved scenes have been written after being imagined during such a journey. Once I get home, I’ll put that track back on and find myself back in that moment, back within that rush of feeling and the words just come pouring out. The thoughts come faster than I can type them.
It can be any music as well. I have quite a diverse taste and my playlists tend to be very “let’s take all of these genres and mix ’em about a bit!” Different genres allow for different emotions, different types of scenes, even different characters. For instance, I’ll take an example from each of my two favourite novelling albums at the moment – John Powell’s How To Train Your Dragon Soundtrack and Devin Townsend Project’s Epicloud.
John Powell’s Forbidden Friendship evokes a strong sense of peace and joy in me. It is a song I listen to and stresses seem to fall away. When I hear it, I can imagine characters coming together to find a closeness they never thought could be there before. I can imagine a character finding a new found strength or acceptance within themselves. When I hear it, I can imagine a sense of blissful understanding, a character having an epiphany. As I listen to it now, I can’t help but close my eyes and sway with it, smiling as I do so. I listen and tense as it builds up and up until that final gentle peak leading onto a harmonious and soothing end, bringing to my characters some sort of resolution.
Devin Townsend Project’s Kingdom strikes quite a different chord but the emotional and inspirational response is just as strong. The music itself is hard and fast and oh so easy to work yourself up with. Great action, battle, a chase, it’s all already forming in my head. There is desperation here. A struggle. A need. And if that wasn’t enough, at around forty five seconds in Devin Townsend’s voice bursts into the song with such force and vigor that I swear I stop breathing for a moment each time it happens. That right there is a voice that makes every hair on my body stand on end. It makes my stomach knot. It makes me want to instantly stand up, clenching my fist as I sing along badly and off key. And then, once I’m hooked, that’s me for the next five minutes as characters swarm about my head in great peril or smashing victory. And while my poor characters might get dragged through hell and back in this time, whatever just happened to them, it can’t be described as anything less than thrilling.
So there you have it, one of the things that inspires me the most. I hope I didn’t ramble too much, I was desperately trying not to. I now feel the need to go and listen to some amazing music. Also, you should follow the link and check out the other Thursday’s Children bloggers. Do it.