Friday, April 19, 2013

Guest Blogger Amy Webb talks about Inspiration

Finding your Inspiration

Inspiration (n) an inspiring or animating action or influence

Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant, there is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks”-- Johann Gottfried Von Herder.  What a fantastic quote!  It sums up inspiration as an overwhelming power that is waiting to be unleashed onto the world, and it can come in many forms.
            Authors and poets can find inspiration in the most obscure and unbelievable places and then it can manifest itself onto the page.   Some sources of inspiration are much more personal than others. A fantastic example would be J.K. Rowling, the woman who made it possible for adults to read about witches and wizards on their daily commute to work.  She found the inspiration for the Harry Potter novels through her depression. During the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” the climactic ending of the series, she let a film crew document a ‘Year in a life’. It was in this revealing documentary that she opened up about her forgotten childhood, the illness that took over her mother and the rocky relationship between herself and her father; she admitted that the Harry Potter series began as an attempt to reclaim her childhood and it was in a small flat in Edinburgh where she turned her life around and Harry Potter was born. 

              Authors have experienced inspirations in other forms, like dreams or epiphanies that have come to them out of the blue, like Stephenie Meyer, the author of the ever popular vampire series ‘Twilight”. 

She was not an author and had no intention of ever becoming one until one night she dreamt ‘the meadow scene’, which would turn into chapter thirteen of the first book. It was this intimate exchange between a young girl named Bella and a vampire named Edward that sparked her imagination and started the phenomenon that is ‘Twilight”. But throughout writing the series Meyer also cited that certain bands caught her imagination, most notably bands like Muse, Blue October and My Chemical Romance.  Meyer also claimed that classic novels like “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights” helped contribute towards the themes of the series.

              I have always known that inspiration can be found anywhere; I’m an avid writer myself and I am always hoping to find the spark that will help me write my own novel. One of the best tips I can offer to any writer is to always carry round a camera, a notebook, or both. Nowadays everyone carries a cell phone and usually those have a decent enough camera.  What a fantastic way in capturing a moment or a setting for your novel.   It could be a lonely cobbled street, a bustling metropolis or a cosy high street cafĂ©.  I like carrying a notebook in my bag; you might hear a young couple arguing about something obscure, or you might hear something endearing being exchanged between an elderly couple.  My point is that a simple exchange of words or a captured scene on a camera could be the starting block for a fantastic novel. My novel is still a work in progress and will take me a while to finish it, but I am always on the lookout for that next event that will shape what will happen next. 
I have always been a fan of seventies era, and glam rock influences like David Bowie, Queen, T Rex and The Sweet  all have a special place in my life and in my IPod.  Bands like these defined an era and shaped the minds of many young. If you have time, look at the lyrics of the most iconic songs during this era, Try to understand the message(s) they are trying to convey.   If we look at The Beatles ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ they were singing about a girl who was in a hallucinogenic state after taking drugs, how would one explain that to grandparents in the seventies?   I want to capture this world in my novel; this is why I have it set in the 70’s amidst all the glitter, spandex and big hair. The seventies was also a time for sexual revolution and domestic change.  Women were no longer trapped in the kitchen and tied to the home.  I want to explore this perspective in detail, this is where my family will come in very handy especially my Grandmother and mother, who I am sure, will give me very different answers. The questions I want to explore are: What was life really like for young people, especially girls, growing up in a suburban part of England during this era? How would this influence their choices growing up? How did the seventies change young people’s views on the world?

In terms of setting my story I did not want to set it in a busy city area like London, because the city is the epicentre of so much action.  Instead, my story is set in a village on the outskirts of my home country of Essex, which is just outside of London. I want to show how my characters struggle with living and growing up in a sleepy village when there is so much going on musically, culturally and sexually nearby. 
To find inspiration you must be patient and sometimes it will not be obvious.  Inspiration will not stand in front of you like a billboard with flashing lights stating “I’m your inspiration!”  That’s just not going to happen. Granted,  I have not been as lucky as Stephenie Meyer and haven’t yet had a wonderful dream to set me on my literary career, well not yet anyway...  But I am hopeful that if I keep my notebook with me, and keep my eyes and mind open I will see my opportunity and I will be ready to capture it,
P.S do not forget a pen!

For more from Amy, check out her blog:
And follow her on Twitter  @amymaryw

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