Inspiration for the Uninspired

The muse is a fickle being. She/He/It doesn’t always want to come out and play. Sometimes you’re on your own. I could give you the usual (and useful) tips – brainstorm, lists, and journaling – but what fun is that? Instead, here are some out of the box ideas to rev up your neurons. People Watch Yes, I know that sounds a little weird. (But aren’t all writers a bit weird?) What better inspiration for new characters than real life strangers? Much to my husband’s embarrassment, I often talk to random people and ask them about their lives. I’ve even been known to take their picture (with their permission.) I always let them know who I am and what I do. Most people get excited at the prospect of appearing in a novel, although I never use real names. So if you need an idea for a new character, try watching the people you meet every day. Artwork Music, paintings, or even photographs can inspire an entire story. (Just ask Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.) Go to a concert. Go to an art museum. Or, if you’re a cheapskate like me, look stuff up on the internet. Monet is a personal favorite. You never know when an impressionist Water Lilies might strike the next great American novel. Talk to a Child As a mom to three wonderful kids, I can honestly say that children come up with the best, craziest, nonsensical ideas. Have you ever watched a kid play? They can create an entire universe out of a stuffed animal and a box of crayons. For a children’s author, speaking to a kid is gold. If you don’t have one of your own, try borrowing a friend’s kid or go to a park. (It’s best to get the parent’s permission first lest you end up behind bars, although I’m sure speaking to fellow inmates would spark a whole new series of stories worth writing about!) The next time you find yourself uninspired try thinking outside the box. Whether you watch the world around you, stare at a painting, or listen to children play, find inspiration through someone else’s... read more

Don’t Wait to be Inspired

Ideas are not something I struggle with. I’ve got a million of them. When I get a new idea I make a note of it in a document I keep, and when I’m done with the project I’m working on, I go to my list to start the next book. (If you’re anything like me, you feel kind of “detached” when you don’t have a writing project you’re actively working on.) Anyhow, it’s once I get started on the project that issues sometimes arise. My desire to write and tell stories are enough to motivate me toward attacking the new work, but what I’ve found is they sometimes aren’t enough to sustain me. I have at least five to ten MG and YA manuscripts in varying stages of completion cluttering up my Dropbox or Google Drive. While I won’t say I abandoned them, I will say I’ve told them “It’s not you; it’s me.” So what made me walk away? Once the initial internal drive wore off, I simply lacked the motivation to keep going. Now I know myself well enough to know I could attack these anew and brute force them into being—and to be honest, I will most likely revisit the majority of them to see them to completion, but at this point I just don’t want to work on a project that I don’t love. Why? If you follow agents and editors very closely at all, the single common trait for all manuscripts they acquire seems to be their undying love for that manuscript. If that’s the case, how can I put forth a manuscript that I can’t get behind with the whole of my passion? I can’t. Which leads me to how to maximize my writing time. These unfinished manuscripts I’m alluding to aren’t just a couple thousand words. I may be fifteen, twenty, or even thirty thousand words in. (Yes, I know I should finish them. I will.) But until then, I’ve found a better way to make sure I’m invested. We all have passions—topics or ideas that hold our attention in a book, movie, documentary, show, article, anything. So what I did was make a list of those things, whatever they were. For me, among other things, my list contains aliens, monsters, and mysterious treasure. Soooo, I try to write stories that contain a combination of elements on my list. By doing this, I know I will be more invested in my book, AND... read more

LM Fry’s Wicked Secrets Cover Reveal

Coming May 27th, 2016! When Emily Brent, a 15-year-old city girl with a sarcastic edge, moves to the remote town of Carrsville Oklahoma, ghostly visions of a teenage girl haunt her day and night. The visions are a warning against the dark secrets of Carrsville’s past. The clock is ticking, and Emily has to find the truth before she becomes the town’s next victim. Available for preorder on Amazon and... read more

Musings on Inspiration

“Let my inspiration flow In token lines suggesting rhythm That will not forsake me Till my tale is told and done.” –       Grateful Dead Lady with a Fan “Inspiration, move me brightly light the song with sense and color, hold away despair More than this I will not ask faced with mysteries dark and vast”-Grateful Dead Terrapin Station My father is a big time Grateful Dead fan and I have been listening to them since the womb. It is no wonder that when I hear the term inspiration I am reminded of Robert Hunter’s lyrics (The full lyrics of the above songs Folk music, stories in a song are possibly my earliest inspirations. Before I could read, my Dad was playing them on the guitar or telling me legends. Growing up in Connecticut I lived by the woods. I was fascinated by tales such as Sleepy Hollow. The trees were so tall and had many rings that made them seem to have been there for ages. Surely, they knew stories of early settlers or the natives. It was almost as if I listened closely, the wind might whisper forgotten voices or the brook might babble about lost villages. Often I’d go out for a drive with my Dad. He’d listen to his music and chat. I would stare off into the trees and crumbling stone walls. I grew up with asthma, but was pretty athletic. I found the more I pushed myself the more I could eventually do. In high school I began running outside of soccer and softball. Again I would listen to music and stare off at the trees. My mind always somewhere else, which isn’t the safest while running (Don’t worry. I face traffic so I can dive out of the way in time). Today I find I get a lot of my inspiration on my runs. I run at various times of day, but mostly in the morning. I love the smells: bacon and eggs, dryer sheets, exhaust. I see embraces, what people wear in the morning, and bus stop interactions. I feel the sun, the rain, my sweaty shirt cling to my skin. I take everything in. Of course my blood is pumping and it gives the added feeling of adventure/action. The runner’s high has the pleasant effect of making my ideas and imaginings seem extra awesome. As I run, I solve story problems and have whole conversations in my head. I am... read more

Inspirations – When music creates stories, characters

Most authors agree on the power of music when writing a story. I’ve read several acknowledgements at the end of novels where authors directly credit songs with impacting part of their work, if not the whole piece. Some writers enjoy listening to inspirational music while they write (such as my friend Linda Fry, author of the Trinity Key Trilogy. Others, like me, may prefer silence while writing, but will then use music in our downtimes to inspire the favorite scenes in our novels, or even entire story concepts. Here are a few of my beloved inspirations, and maybe you’ll share some of your favorites as well! Concept music One of my best finds in the past year is Liquid Cinema. My discovery of this company is a good story all by itself. I was watching a trailer for the 75th anniversary release of Gone with the Wind, and most of the music was from the movie, except for one excerpt during a particularly dramatic part of the trailer. I searched far and wide to find out whose instrumental music this was, even making a deal with a girl in Japan for us to help each other locate it. Four months later, I discovered a board discussing that specific part of the trailer and its music, and was introduced to “Era” by Liquid Cinema. In that song, I pictured a whole movie trailer for my novel Fortune, and even changed some scenes to have more dramatic visuals because of the composition. Other “whole concept” music for me includes “Soldier of Fortune” and “Aeterna” by Liquid Cinema, as well as Le Reve’s “Overture” by Benoit Jutras. Scene music The first time I really thought about “scene” music was when I was thinking about the final scene of my Teen Mobster Series, a wedding in Covert Criminal (because what Mafia series shouldn’t have an Italian wedding?). Strange as it was, I could see a montage of the wedding to Colbie Caillat’s “Brighter than the Sun”. It just made me happy, even if it didn’t scream Godfather-type wedding. Then there was Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up”  and The Script’s “Living in the Hall of Fame”  for my YA novel Fierce. Finally, “Hangin’ By A Thread” by Jann Arden and Labyrinth’s (with my favorite Emeli Sande!)“Beneath Your Beautiful”, which I first heard on So You Think You Can Dance episodes, were perfect for my dramatic YA contemporary When The Monsters Come. Anyway, the list... read more