Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inspiration and Perspiration

We’ve all heard the quote from Thomas Edison, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Is it true for writers as well? Many people have said many things about this matter. What does a writer need to think of stories? Should he sit and look out the window until an idea pops into his head? Or should he constantly be busy with plotting out ideas and writing things down?
I think it’s a little bit of both. Maybe a fifty fifty split. If you let ideas spin through you mind, you’ll eventually find something you like. From that point on, it’s work. You have to consciously pursue the subject and develop the inkling of the idea into a story. Maybe some people can start writing a story with just that inkling, but I’ve found that I have to plot out some things. Mostly, they don’t stay the way they started, but I plotted them out nonetheless.
It’s much easier to win a race if you know where the finish line is. If you just run along, hoping to spot the chequered banner, you’re probably not going to finish any time soon. Your story will be a mass of unrelated events. Well, mine would be anyway.
However, the biggest problem still remains. How do you get an inkling of an idea into your head? How do you speed up your inspiration? You can’t just stare out of a window for a few days until you have something.
Jack London once said, “You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” You have to hunt for inspiration.
You scrutinise every object, every event that passes you by on a daily basis. Ask yourself how that object could be different. What would happen if so and so would happen to that object? How would this event be different if so and so happened?
Letting your imagination run wild is a great tool for inspiration.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from a great writer.

Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” - Orson Scott Card

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