Getting Inspired: Writing, Reading and Watching

Anyone who’s in a creative field (writer, artist, designer, etc.) looks at the world a little differently.  Inspiration for creation can be found in a conversation overheard at Starbucks, a street sign in a strange city even in kids kicking a can down a residential street.  All of a sudden, the first chapter of a novel begins to form, a design idea leaps to life or scattered song lyrics start to make sense. 

There was an episode of “Project Runway” years ago where the designers had to design an outfit based on the sights and sounds they discovered while wandering around New York City for a few hours.  It’s amazing what they came up with; dirty gutter water transformed into an elegant evening gown, an orchid became a sophisticated two-piece ensemble, etc.  While you or I would have just seen gutter water or an orchid, the designers were able to conceptualize those abstract ideas into wearable art.
This elegant gown was inspirted by dirty gutter water.  Inspiration can come from anywhere, so long as you're open to it.

As a writer, I get inspired by all kinds of things.  Because I write suspense novels about the dark side of love, I can sometimes be found rapt in front of a “Law and Order” marathon of some kind (“Criminal Intent” is my favorite.) I find lots of story ideas by listening to the radio, thumbing through the pages of “PEOPLE” (a treasure trove of inspiration), and reading the newspaper.  Remember in "Working Girl" when Melanie Griffith got her big idea from a newspaper gossip column?  I keep a massive accordion file folder crammed with articles I’ve ripped out of magazines and printed off the Internet.  Sometimes, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with an article, but I hang on to it, since I never know when it might come in handy.  I drew inspiration for “Live and Let Die” from a variety of places – including an article I read in “USA Today.” 
Above all, I LOVE watching Investigation Discovery.  I could watch that channel all day long (sad to say, there’ve been some rainy Saturday and Sunday afternoons where I’ve done just that).  What I love is that many of the shows – “Scorned: Love Kills,” Fatal Vows,” “Deadly Affairs,” etc. – aren’t necessarily focused on the procedure behind how the crimes are solved, but rather, on the circumstances that drove the players to commit the crime.  Jealousy, greed, lust and that all-important one, love, are at the root of these crimes.  I’m always intrigued by the interplay between people, particularly those in love, and how they can turn that emotion against each other—and others – in the deadliest of ways.  Unless you’re under the bed, you never know what goes on between two people – or what drives them to murder.
A good idea can come from anywhere, as long as you keep your eyes, ears -- and imagination open.  And a big accordion file folder ready to be filled.
Now, back to writing.