Thursday, January 7, 2010
Guest Blog: Finding My Own Inspiration by Carrie Lofty
I consider myself a prepared pantser. I don't outline, I don't make note cards, and I don't generally have much of a clue as to where my story will go. But I do know my characters and where their romance takes place. If those two elements are strong in my mind, then inspiration surely follows.
For example, in writing SCOUNDREL'S KISS, I knew only two things going in: the heroine would be an opium addict and the hero would be a warrior monk. Their main conflict revolved around Gavriel's promise to get her well. She was lost, yes, but also playful and very clever. He was in charge, but his low self-esteem is buried within the body of a trained killer.
I love seeing how two people fit together and meet one another's needs. That, to me, is inspiration. Playing with the possibilities could send me into happy smiles all day. Once I carve out those unique dove tails, the plot can be whatever I want. My brain goes into overload and, well, weird stuff falls out.
This is the moment when I grab the nearest pen or keyboard. I brainstorm. Every. Possible. Idea. And oh my, some of them are utter crap. I imagined Ada dressing up as a dancing girl from a harem to rescue a secondary character. I thought of burning half of the Spanish countryside in a drought-fueled fire. I even pictured a genuine love triangle.
But in between ideas that never came to pass, I found a few gems: a runaway girl, a villainous monk, a chess match, a daring love scene by a river, a wedding night in prison, and trial by combat. All of those came to pass, and they're why I'm never scared of writer's block. If I get stuck, I simply consult my Big List of Possibilities. There awaits all of the ideas that sparked my imagination when I was first became enamored of an idea.
Looking over them again charges me up. Oh, I think, that's why I wanted to write this hideous, dull, good-for-nothing story! Believe me, long about page 100 or 200 or 300—whenever it is that I get bogged down—any little jolt of excitement, even something as simple as remembering when it was once fresh and beautiful, is just the thing to get me going again. And in the case of SCOUNDREL'S KISS, a book I adore, the results were well worth the struggle!
(Note: If this method doesn't get me going, then my "being stuck" is just fear and procrastination, in which case it doesn't do a damn bit of good. That's when I have a mocha and take a few hours off!)
Commenters will be entered into a draw for a copy of Carrie Lofty's Scoundrel's Kiss.