Inspirational News

Some writers do not have constant access to their Muse (or sometimes they have to hire one). I can recall times as a novice writer when I would literally sit, drumming my pen against the desk, and wait for inspiration to strike. And wait, and wait, and wait. At times in graduate school, I had to write two short stories a week, in addition to writing a novel. Going that often to the creativity well, at some points, it is going to be dry. So what do you do during the drought?

The short answer: Get water from another source.
Truman Capote read through several different newspapers and magazines every day, until one day he found the news story that would eventually become In Cold Blood. The Writer’s Block tells a story of how Anne Tyler found the inspiration for her novel, A Slipping Down Life, in a human interest story about a girl who’d slashed the name “Elvis” into her forehead. However, in Tyler’s story the character employs the aid of a mirror and winds up etching the name in backwards.
There is nothing uncreative about using actual events as the basis for fiction. The entire genre of historical fiction relies on that very concept. Also, authors frequently draw from their own lives, experiences, and hearsay stories for inspiration. However, it is rare in a week that I have done, said, or personally witnessed something newsworthy. There are also times when the news we hear is so inconceivable that fiction is the only way we can make sense of it.
Beware thinking that the newspaper journalist has done all of your work for you. There is still character development, motivation, point of view, and a host of other creative considerations that will give depth and life to your story. And don’t forget. It needs to be edited when you’re done.
The EditorMuse

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