Looking for inspiration? It may be a good idea to turn your computer off.

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I made an interesting discovery on my last summer vacation. Time away from the internet can do wonders for your writing and for your time management too.

As usual in every vacation I never take my laptop with me. I know that it will be hard to be away from the virtual world, but I make a stand on it. It’s a, to some degree, return to the past ritual; to the time when I didn’t own a computer and didn’t even know what an email was. I remember having more time for everything back then even if some of that time was spent watching television. As nowadays television for me is something I mainly use to show my DVDs twice per week, during these three weeks I used the internet free time for something more constructive; reading.

Since I often change my mind about what I want to go on reading, it’s very practical to carry a great number of books in an electronic reader. So, apart from the two books I started and didn’t feel like reading to the end, during this vacation I managed to finish reading other six books: Four science-fiction books and two about writing craft. These last two I didn’t only read, but also studied, making notes on the e-reader. When I was writing, I was fine under the sun with a paper notebook and a pen. I had the double word count I usually have at home while trying the almost impossible task (with my white complexion) of getting a tan. All this while reading and writing were just a part of my day. The rest of the time I was “busy” enjoying my vacations and had a great time, without internet.

But coming back to my main theme, inspiration. Ideas rarely come to me while sitting in front of my computer. I think this happens because too much goes on in the virtual world and I’m not disciplined enough not to look around while writing. New ideas appear while cooking, talking to people, taking a shower or just after closing my eyes and deciding I was done for the day and I’m going to sleep. Usually I’m not thinking about my novel, it happens unconsciously when I am relaxed. So, the best thing to do when you hit the wall is to take a break. Give it time, from half an hour to a full night of sleep, preferably go to do a task that doesn’t occupy your mind so much. Even everyday work, like baking a cake or ironing clothes can help your mind in answering your questions for you. Inspiration will surface when you expect it the least.

Experimenting with different narrator voices, a Gedankenexperiment

Today my inspirational tips go towards creating an original perspective, using different narrators. The voice of a different character causes a switch in perspective, bringing originality and movement to your story. How would a story sound if it would be told by, for example, a young child or an older person?

In my current WIP Novel I included some chapters from the point-of-view of the villain and it sounded different to have an obsessive controlling person as the narrator. It showed insight in his egocentric personality and view of the world and also helped to deepen the character, show some of his back story and the reasons behind him wanting to control everything. An example of a book where this is really well done is The Pillars of the World from Anne Bishop.  Many interesting sci-fi books I read had an alien as a narrator, and this a great way to show a glimpse into their world, culture and way of thinking.Another idea for fantasy or sci-fi would be to put the narrator in an altered state of consciousness, like dreaming or in a trance? In my WIP I included a scene where my main character, Anita, is in a trance. Tell me what is your opinion about it:”And then I realized that the surrounding realities were interconnected like a web. On this web all lines started on me and took me to different lives in different universes. I sat in the center of this web like a spider, seeing where all lines would take me. These lines of lives would interconnect at regular intervals even if time would make them to get more distant from each other. Between one life and another I would see the line connecting all my parallel lives and have all the understanding and all knowledge that would remain occult during my lifetimes. I wouldn’t be able to carry all the knowledge in a conscious way during my lifetimes because the multitude of different realities and points of view would madden me. Or at least would make me behave in a way others in my current reality would consider mad. But now, in the trance, in the full possession of my power I could see my web clearly. I could have remained there for eternity just watching that kaleidoscope of fights and emotions, but I forced myself to stop. My children need me. I thought. And this was more important than the ultimate power, more than the ultimate knowledge.”

My second challenge

As promised this new visual prompt goes more in the fantasy direction with a magical bird who has a soul connection to a snake woman and a dragon who flies in the background. I made this picture in 2006. Please click on the link below this post to see the picture.

Could you think of a story where these characters would interact with each other? Or could this picture be more of the metaphor of a woman’s soul moment represented by the dragon and the phoenix, the eternal struggle between light and darkness?

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I’m wondering again

How about a blog which main subject is giving other people ideas about what to write? I don’t consider myself an expert in writing, but I do have more ideas available than time to write about them. So why not to write them down and offer them to the next person looking for inspiration? So, this picture is my first challenge. Could you think of ways in which way this love could happen? What would be the hurdles in their way? If you know who made this picture, please tell me so I put the credits on it. If you write about it, please let me know, I would be happy to know this blog has inspired someone.

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