The trouble with Inspiration

plagiarimsAs some of you might have seen I was not sure what to write about in this week’s writer’s tips blog, so I took to social networking to help me decide. The choices were an entry about inspirations, or about character writing outside of your comfort zone.  And there were a few more people interested in hearing about inspiration.  Actually a few writers were curious about the concept of the turbulence that Inspiration can cause.  And that sounds like a lot of fun to write about, so that’s where we are.  And for those who chimed in for interest on Writing outside your comfort level, I’ll be focusing in on that really soon.  And those comments also changed my initial idea.  I really like the conversations and I might try for feedback more often.  Plus  H.H. Neville gave me another topic that might be getting some focus not soon after.   Speaking of inspiration!

I think we all know what inspiration is.  It comes from many fonts and eddies in our minds.  They can sometimes be accidental and often were not even sure where they come from, and our minds spin out of control like a train wreck we can’t look away from.  Of course then there are other times when our inspiration speaks to us in a much more lucid way.  When we see a concept in a film, tv show, video game, novel or what not that spawn this appetite to make it our own, be it for critique, deconstruction or just because it seems fun.  Not matter how inspiration hits, or why we drink it up like fine wine the truth remains that there is always a dividing line between too much or too little.  But how do we manage ourselves to fall in line to create something unique or all our own, when most of the things that pop into our head are birthed by the concepts of other things.

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About the Voice

Silhouettes!

Silhouettes!

One of the more famous paraphrases in cartooning is one that Matt Groening of the Simpson’s fame made.  It’s about how you can gauge the strength of your character design by being able to distinguish your characters even from a silhouette.  That is to say even with no details just the shape of the character should make its identity known.  I’ve

always liked that concept.  And though I can’t say that all my character designs have stood up to the silhouette test that bit of advice is always in the back of my mind.

Of course as writers we don’t have a silhouette test.  We’re not a visual medium, so unless you’re a weirdo like me who draws all the characters in a novel for fun, there is not a ‘character design’ as there is in visual media.  Granted this could be greatly debated.  As many an author spends more time thinking about how a character looks and moves than his or her political leanings.  But, even still we don’t have the same kind of silhouette sort of deal that Groening referred to on the writing page.  Though I do feel we have a similar track to gauge when we go about developing characters.

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