Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Where do you find your inspiration?
Do you remember the first moment you had the impulse to tell a story? The first time the muse tapped you on your shoulder and said, "Pssst, we need to talk?"
I do. For me it was on my lunch hour. I worked for a structural engineering company and had just pulled into the parking lot to go back to work. A radio broadcast interrupted with a breaking news report, which said a man had left the Santa Fe state capital building, where in broad daylight, and in front of witnesses, an assassin traveling by car zoomed past and gunned the man down on the steps.
Myriad thoughts went through my head at the time, among them the brazen act and the location itself. As someone who grew up in New Mexico, I knew politically based shootings of this kind were anomalies.
Sadly, I never found out why the man was murdered, or if his killer(s) were apprehended. But in the weeks that followed, the story wouldn't let go. I combed newspapers, searched the Internet, tuned into evening programs, but I was left with a story simply untold.
What did I do? Finished it, of course. That thirty second account depicting a tragedy sparked my fiction career. I called the book Loving Montana. I wrote it in three months. Without the benefit of critique partners, without an understanding of the market, without knowledge of GMC or POV or any initials for that matter. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but filling that missing gap did ignite my passion, and my muse took it from there.
Which brings me to you. Where do your stories come from? Do you remember what you were doing the first moment your muse whispered, "Pssst, we need to talk?"