Thursday, 13 February 2014

Inspiration or perspiration?
A few times during the past week I sat looking at the computer screen knowing that time was slipping before meeting my writing buddy, Kelly. I had a story to write but there was certainly no inspiration coming my way! At our meetings since January, we've been going back through our notes from the 'Telling Tales' course we took together and last time had set ourselves 5Ws as the basis of a story to write by the time we next met. These were the 'ingredients' she'd chosen for me:
- WHO? a female hoarder
- WHERE? small valleys town
- WHEN? after receiving a wedding invitation 
- WHAT? death bed promise
- WHY? to right a past wrong
They were taken from a list that the whole group had offered to Lynne, our tutor. I knew the idea worked and my story And Then There Were Two....which was published on Alfie Dog last year started off from such a list. 

As preparation, I'd done a little research about people who are compulsive hoarders, I considered myself to be quite good at making links and connections but still nothing! I had to admit defeat and go along to Kelly's house empty handed. She hadn't written her story either so we took the time to talk through each other's ideas. What a difference that made. We then spent fifteen minutes just writing the beginning of our stories and I couldn't believe how the ideas started to last! The enthusiasm was back and I can't wait to finish the story now. I've also thought of title too so watch this space.

This got me thinking and looking back over the stories I've written. Just where did they come from? Sometimes, they've been seasonal or as a result of 'given' first lines. On other occasions, I've used a photograph or started with some character interaction. I know I enjoy reading Wendy Clarke's blog when she often tells us what inspired her writing and Patsy Collins amazes me with the variety and range of her short stories. Inspiration can come in so many guises and sometimes when you least expect it, I suppose. What has inspired you to write lately?

Is anyone else staying up half the night to watch the Writing Women's Fiction workshop from Writers' Web TV ? It starts at 11 p.m. GMT tonight and it's free. I watched the Crime Writers' workshop last month and it was very good but that was broadcast at 11 a.m. I'll let you know next week if I managed to watch it all....until 3 a.m.!!


  1. Sounds like you've got the gist of a great story there Jan. I find the stories flow better if I have a place, the people, and a plot idea. Thing with me, I expect to write the finished story in one go. I find editing a bit of a bore, but it has to be done. Look forward to reading the story....

    1. Thanks, Sue. I'm a bit the opposite and take so long looking back at the stories, editing and re-writing parts. That's why my output is so much less than yours I suspect!

  2. I quite often don't really know where story ideas come from, but usually if I start writing they'll come to me.

    1. That sounds great, Patsy. I agree that once I'm actually writing, more ideas come into my head which is what happened on Wednesday with my hoarder story. It's getting that initial idea that sometimes eludes me (one of your words from a few weeks back!)

  3. I did stay up until the end of the Writing Women's Fiction workshop - 2.30 am - and was so glad I did. There was so much for writers of all genres. All the authors were excellent but I found what Julie Cohen had to say particularly useful as I try to write my novel.