At some point, every writer is asked where he gets his inspiration from. It might be inspiration for a certain character or inspiration for a story. Fans will want to know how you went from a blank sheet of paper — or computer screen — to a completed story. There will be those family members and friends who think they see themselves in your work (so you’d better pray they like what they see. There’s nothing worse than your mother-in-law thinking you just made her into the crazed female serial killer or you next-door-neighbor thinking he is the boozing Lothario who tripped and fell, drowning in the swimming pool).
I’m sitting here this morning, drinking my first cup of coffee and watching the news. Imagine my surprise to be greeted with the news that someone had attacked Dallas Police Headquarters. The images on the screen were from a helicopter of a scene away from DPDHQ. A stretch of roadway, only police vehicles and one armored civilian vehicle in sight. The voice-over explained that the suspect had led the police on a chase to a neighboring city where his vehicle was finally stopped — thanks to come .50 calibre rounds. Now the cops are negotiating with someone who claims to have not only guns but bombs onboard, a threat the police are taking seriously after finding several suspicious packages outside the PD after the building had been shot at. One of those packages blew up when the bomb squad robot tried to move it.
Now, this scenario would be interesting and troubling at any time. After all, Dallas is only half an hour away from where I live. In this day and age, you can’t help but wonder if such an attack is an isolated incident or the beginning of something more. That is the world we live in right now.
But, for me, it has my creative mind working as well. Watching the security video from outside a hotel near the PD, listening to the repeated shots, seeing police approach the suspect’s vehicle and then rushing to take cover as he opened fire, it is scary and fascinating and, to be honest, the fodder for writing.
Frankly, it helps me frame a scene in Nocturnal Challenge that had been holding me up. Yes, the draft is finally finished but there is a sequence near the middle that has been bothering me. Something just wasn’t right and I couldn’t figure out what. Watching the current events in the Dallas area unfold, I’m getting a glimmer of what was wrong and how to fix it.
Will it be a rehash of what is happening this morning? No. As the title of this post alludes to, I will be changing the names to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent. But I will be using what I see to help frame the bones of that sequence in the book to be more realistic.
So, in answer to the question of where do I find my inspiration, yes, I do get it from real life. And from my imagination. And from dreams. And from brainstorming with the other members of this blog and a few others. Inspiration is wherever you find it and every story will have different sources.
Now, to finish my coffee and to get some notes down while this is all fresh in my head.
Where do you find your inspiration?