I find inspiration in:
- Stories that I already love: Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Sailor Moon. Writing fanfiction has always been easy for me because I get very attached to the characters and worlds from other stories. But often, my own creations start with a pre-existing story, and take a few detours. Characters change, plots change, themes change. The Muse is very closely based on Pride and Prejudice, but another P&P-based fic that I once wrote, called The Chosen People, started off with an image of an Elizabeth Bennet-like heroine and a Fitzwilliam Darcy-like hero, and then went way in another direction.
- Music: certain artists and songs just conjure up stories. Norah Jones provided a lot of inspiration for The Muse, particularly the more melancholy scenes. But, I’ve also been inspired by Colbie Caillat, Celine Dion, Sara Bareilles, and a few others artists. The funny thing is, sometimes, I may not even love the singer or the song that inspires me. For instance, Celine Dion. I think she’s completely overblown and melodramatic. When she starts belting, I want to cover my ears and cower. Yet, whenever I hear her cover of “Alone,” I automatically envision a story about a woman sitting alone in her apartment painting. Weird, huh?
- Ballet. That one’s pretty obvious. I know a bit about the dance world and, because it’s such a brutal, perfectionistic, beautiful world, I think it holds a lot of opportunity for stories.
- Walks through the park. All that fresh air must do something for my imagination.
- My own wishes, fantasies, and dreams. (Does this count?) Often, I write for wish-fulfillment. For example, I wrote The Chosen People as I was going through a painful breakup. In TCP, my main characters found a way to work through their differences. In real life, my now ex-boyfriend and I didn’t.
However, sometimes my inspiration comes from places I’d least expect. A story that I’m writing now was “inspired” by a short story assignment that I gave my sixth grade students. I always write alongside them, I had no ideas, and I just picked the first thing that came into my head: a story about a boy who’s too scared to ask his crush to the dance. Not the kind of character or story I’d ever think to write! Which just goes to show, sometimes writing is less about “inspiration” and more about “just write something!”