Writing with Inspiration

creativity_idea_inspiration_innovation_pencil_paper_plan_business-714869I often struggle to find a push to write when I’m feeling ill or tired. Since I have a full time job and a family, I’m often tired and just want to relax. However, I think once motivation is conquered, the next hurdle is inspiration.

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anything. Other stories, people you’ve met, ideas you have in the shower, friends and family, and just generally living your life. That last part is important. How can you write about people and events if you don’t live your life?

Being an introvert, I get it. I get tired talking to people and meeting large groups, but I do it to interact and learn about human interaction. Your character dialogue might improve if you learn how other people talk. Who knows, you might even get inspired by a stranger to create a brand new character!

If you find yourself being boxed in, without an idea to move forward with, try stepping out and seeing the world and the people in it. Maybe that will help you as it has me.

Ultimately, inspiration is a result of what you put into it. Go out and experience things, and write about similar things.

You might like some of my reviews:

Book Review: The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

Book Review: The Dragon Masters by Jack Vance

Book Review: The “Troy Rising” Trilogy by John Ringo

You might also like some more of my writing posts:

Turning a Hobby into a Career

Where the First Draft Ends and Second Draft Begins


Book Review: 1632 by Eric Flint

1632-Eric_Flint_(2000)_cover1632 is a hard book to describe. It’s often listed with “alternate history” and “science fiction”, but it’s hard to nail down; it has elements of both.

Eric Flint has created an entire “Ring of Fire” universe with 1632. He gave birth to a regular anthology of short stories, spin off novels, and numerous sequels all set in the same universe.

1632 is the story of a small town named Grantville, WV which gets transported back in time to 1632, during the Thirty Years’ War. These Americans find themselves in Germany during a period of royalty and aristocracy. They are also the most technologically advanced society of the age.

The event that kicks off everything in the book is not explained, but the characters must deal with it. Ultimately, what we get is a story that’s both interesting and fun.

Interestingly, Flint and his co-writers in the Ring of Fire series have had to track characters who were transported back in time, because they saw too many ex-military characters would appear as a result of an author’s needs.

I really liked this book. I honestly thought I already did a review of it, but I didn’t see one. There’s a ton of interesting elements, from Gustavus Aldolphus interacting with the Americans and coming to respect their point of view, to the town converting a vehicle to a “war machine” and seeing the locals’ reactions.

I really liked that last one, by the way. Flint made sure the reader understood that these 17th century people weren’t mindless. They understood that machines were able to move things, and when they saw the diesel-powered vehicle, they didn’t think it was powered by magic, but weren’t sure how it was powered.

Also of note was the way people thought back then compared to how people thought now. One of the characters remark that the Americans are all commoners who think like nobility. It was an interesting concept.

All in all, I would recommend this one to anyone who likes character driven stories and alternate history.


Check out my other blog posts:

Book Review: Slan by A. E. van Vogt

Book Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Book Review: On Basilisk Station by David Weber

Dodging Derivatives


Have you ever written a story that you soon realized was clearly lifted from another author’s work? Have you ever come up with an idea only to discover it was actually developed by someone else?

Science fiction is a genre that can easily fall into derivatives. Far too often writers of genre fiction either copy ideas from others without thinking about it, or develop ideas from the same source material.

Here’s 3 tips on how to avoid that:

1. Don’t Just Read the Science 

The “science” part of science fiction is important. But taking all your inspiration from the science periodicals is a recipe for disaster. Every submission season, it’s obvious when a new article came out with an interesting scientific breakthrough, because multiple people write about it!

Try breaking out the philosophy magazines and the histories and classics. Maybe there you’ll find inspiration that other people won’t also write about!

2. Take the Tropes and Twist Them

There are a ton of tropes in genre fiction. Science fiction especially suffers from the same sort of ideas time and again. Whether it’s the “AI will kill us” scenario or the “humans are their own enemy” story, it’s a recurring thing when these plot elements are used so frequently.

Take these ideas, and flip them around! Instead of AI being a killer, make it the one suspected of the murder. In reality, people killed and made the AI look like a murderer on purpose! How about the “humans are their own enemy” story? What would an alien race look like who was worse to themselves than humanity is to themselves?

3. Write Down Your Dreams

This seems silly, but I’ve had so many great ideas in the twilight hours! While I’m on the edge of consciousness, my brain just spits out random ideas and thoughts. It’s helpful to write them down so you have unique images and ideas to work from!

I hope you enjoyed that! Let me know in the comments below if anything else has helped you avoid falling into the “same old, same old”. Thanks!

Short Story or Novel?

books-683901_960_720I often share on Twitter the books I find at local book sellers. I love reading, so it felt natural to want to create my own books. I’ve seen recently the push to avoid going to novel writing, and instead sticking with shorter fiction.

While there isn’t anything wrong with short fiction, I really do feel like writing novels. This isn’t some misguided crusade into the glamour of the great American novel, but rather a desire of my own to write long form fiction because I feel the style fits my writing better.

I have written short stories. I just don’t feel as interested in them as I do in writing novels. When I get through a few chapters of writing, and see the wheels begin to turn, and the plot threads start to intersect, there’s something I love about it.

It’s almost like playing a strategy game like Chess or Go. In the end, the entire game is what gets me exhilarated, not just the moves in the game.

Figure out what you like best, not what others expect of you.

Pursuing Your Dreams

realm-of-dreams-28Chasing after the long shot is what made America into what it is today. Entrepreneurs who built businesses, engineers who built bridges, and artists who imagined the future created the future we’re in today.

I sometimes think the division between “wealth” and “dreams” is too wide, unless you desire wealth as your dream. For me, I want to have my work read. I want to be published to the masses and my books to be discussed. I seek readership.

That’s my dream. I think I’ll keep fighting for it.