Inspiration can come from anywhere. It could be as simple as I’m out and I see someone in the street who catches my eye—it could be the way they’re dressed, their haircut, or an overheard snippet of conversation.
A lot of mine comes from family situations, because seriously my family are funny as shit, or should that be… my family are weird… or just do crazy things that I just have to tell the rest of the world in my own unique way.
Gypsy Marsden (The Lines of Marsden) for example, is a combination of my daughter Emily and her cousin Jared (but let’s not tell him that.) Those of you who have met Emily will know the similarities. Hence the reason she says if she’s in my books, then she deserves to be in every dedication whether she’s a character or not.
Most often than not my Inspiration comes from song lyrics. it might be just the combination of a few words. or a verse might stand out and I think I could write a book along these lines.
Family and friends will often send me some random picture and tell me “this” will make a great character… this building/scene etc needs it’s story told. Like the picture in this post just calls to me and I want to know… Know what they’re thinking? What they’re talking to each other about? Why are they on opposite sides of the fence? What’s going on around them… I don’t know who this picture belongs to but to me it’s beautiful.
YES! I have one who I can’t live without… So I’ve told him he’s not allowed to die—ever.
The best part about my James A is that when I’m supposed to be writing American (which, believe me is sometimes very hard for this Aussie to do.) He tells me the words I should be using. Then if I still don’t get them he’ll explain what they mean.
I sometimes wished the whole world spoke and wrote the exact same way, and then it would make my life so much easier. But alas, I’ve often been told that the world doesn’t revolve around me.
Some authors don’t share everything with the one beta reader, but I do mainly because I have a very hard time finding a beta reader. I’ve had a few over the years. some have just gotten too busy, others just disappear, and are never to be heard from again. But James A has been with me from the very beginning. I even met him on my first trip to the states and we went driving all over the place. It was awesome.
I can’t tell you about other people’s experiences, but I can tell you about my own. Not only does a good beta reader pick up the mistakes. they also help point out any holes in the story line, which gives me a chance to go and tweak things. and they also point out the need for contractions, and if I’ve over used a word.
I’m not a writer that is constantly re reading what’s previously written each day. I usually read through the last two paragraphs to see where I was heading and just let my mind flow. I only re read the whole story during the editing stage, or more so the final read through where I have one last chance to change things.
I sometimes—okay, most of the time… get confused in how to set out a story because each publisher seems to have different formatting. Now I try and set each book up as I’m writing to the correct formatting required by each publisher… thank the great be-all-and-end-all that I only have to worry about three.
for anyone out there just starting out, I’d suggest going to whichever publisher you are planning on going with and finding out their preference and get used to automatically setting your work for them the way they like it. And for those publishers who accept any formatting style… see how the first lot of edits come back as it’s usually changed to the way they really prefer it. I’m pretty sure the editors as well as the publisher are grateful for it.
I’m really a bad one for writing everything out long and not shortening it like a person would in everyday speech. I don’t know why I do it writing books but not when I do my blogs or write out notes to other people.
My editors are always telling me to go back through and contact them to make them normal speech. This year I’m trying to go through and check that I’m on top of what needs to be done. I know long (like he would not—instead of he wouldn’t) adds to the wordage, but remember that it gets bloody annoying for the readers. I just re read some of my own work and it drove me nuts seeing all the ones we didn’t catch.
On Head Hopping:
This is another one I really suck at… I’m a head hopping queen. In my longer books I now try and put something in there so my poor editors know where I’ve intentionally swapped heads.
In my novellas I now just swap heads for each chapter. It makes my life so much easier to deal with. Thankfully I have very understanding editors who point out where I do it and don’t realise.
I’m the type of person that likes to know what’s going on in everybody’s head at the same time. I now know that is often chaotic and very confusing for the readers. It’s still hard when all my characters what their point of view to be heard.