Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing DNA #1

Listen up all you crime scene investigators, writing is a tough gig, even for the best of us. When things get overwhelming, a little inspiration is a wonderful thing. As part of Writing DNA Thursdays, we're going to clue you to what our detectives do to keep their muses on the grind. So break out your lab kits and see what you can make of these DNA samples:

Elisa Ludwig:
For me it's fall. Knowing that cooler temperatures are on their way, and with them, the desire to stay inside and drink hot beverages is keeping me at the computer focused on my WIP. While the change of seasons isn't affecting the content of my writing, it's just inspiring me, period. After a long, super-hot summer, there's a renewed sense of energy, and the back-to-school time of year always makes me want to buckle down and get serious.

Laura Ellen:
Music is the one thing that inspires me most, and it always goes hand-in-hand with my creative process. When I am kicking around a novel in my head, I start gathering songs that remind me of the characters or the setting or the plot - even the tone and pacing. It can be in the lyrics or the rhythm, but something in each song attaches to something in my plot. As I begin writing, I am constantly adding to the songs and rearranging them in a playlist that parellels my plot. This playlist becomes a tool for me. I listen to it before I start writing each day to get back into the story, or when I get stuck and need to figure some plot point out.

Kristen Kittscher:
Nothing inspires me more than re-reading a book I loved, no matter the genre. When I find myself feeling blocked and tired, I take a break and pick up a favorite -- maybe only to read a chapter or two. Without fail I return to work feeling refreshed and eager to forge ahead, even though I know I won't match their greatness. Some middle-grade titles I've turned to are The Penderwicks (Jeanne Birdsall), When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead), and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg). However, I've also re-read favorite classics for adults such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark), Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier), and Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), as well. 

Lamar "L.R." Giles:
I live by a really great bookstore and when I need inspiration I like to go and walk the aisles. It's something about the smell of all that paper, and the way the light gleams off glossy dust jackets that gets me really geared up. Usually I'll find something new to read, but the atmosphere just does something for me. It's like the feeling of coming home.

Diana Renn:
Whenever I'm gearing up for a new project, or stuck in the middle of an ongoing one, I like to look at a postcard I have had over my desk for a decade. "Giacomond," by Quint Buchholz, shows a surreal image of a man walking on a tightrope from the edge of his roof toward a distant full moon. He's holding the end of the tightrope over his head and laying it out as he walks. This image always makes me think of how writing can feel precarious, even impossible, but it can be done calmly, one step at a time. I also love the confidence of the tightrope walker here. He seems strangely in control. This reminds me of how I want to use a voice of authority when I write, even when I'm feeling my way through the dark.


  1. I always loved the Point thriller/etc. books I read as a pre-teen. Actually, I've read them as an adult too...

  2. I don't know those yet! More fodder for inspiration... Thanks for that.


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