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Inspiration in Unexpected Places

Inspiration is the driving force behind artistic creation. We've all got our standbys- favorite movies, books, music, locations, and websites that can reignite the flame and help us push through that last quarter of our book. All we've gotta do is seek 'em out, take a long hard look, and drink in the awesome. Instant fix, right?

So what happens when your good old standbys lose their pretty sparkle and start leaving you wanting more? You could revisit old inspirations, hoping for another fling, but everybody knows that sought out inspiration isn't quite the same as the real thing- spontaneous and staggering, unexpected. Come on, that book needs to get finished, GET INSPIRED BY SOMETHING QUICKLY OR YOU'LL LOSE IT ALL FOREVER AAAAAAH!

Obviously, I've found myself in the pickle that is the Empty Creativity Gas Tank my fair share of times. After going on a seemingly endless quest for inspiration, I sat down and decided that I needed to do something differently, because the usual stuff wasn't cutting it for me this time with this particular book. I reread old favorite books, watched movies, listened to more music that matched what I thought the tone of my book should be.

Then something weird happened. Something equally remarkable and terrible. Something unexpected.

I got inspired by a roaring woman who had fake blood dripping down her front.

Thanks to Gaga, pop music swept me away in a fury that I never thought possible. Gwen Stefani, Fergie, Nicki Minaj, Lily Allen, and Katy Perry. Some people say that pop music is pointless, stupid, and insulting, yet the brightly colored videos and infectious beats and entertaining stage presences fill me with the urge to create something truly kick ass.

Inspiration at an unexpected time is awesome, but inspiration from an unexpected source is even more so. The feeling you get when you are being mesmerized by something you always swore you'd hate is humbling and freeing.

So yeah, I'm guilty of waking up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy. Haters gonna hate, but the effect it's had on my writing has been more than worth it.

It goes a little something like this:

-EXPECTED INSPIRATION: The Nightmare Before Christmas. Movie, soundtrack, still images, whatever.

-UNEXPECTED INSPIRATION: Desperate Housewives. Another horribly written, super soapy dramedy? Think again. This one's filled with gems.

-EXPECTED INSPIRATION: Pictures of nature. 'Nuff said.

-UNEXPECTED INSPIRATION: Chopped on Food Network. There's just something special about feeling for a guy who has to figure out how to make a dessert with goat brains and Nutella.

Alright, it's confession time. What are your most unexpected inspirations?
Amy Lukavics

Amy lurks within the forested mountains of Arizona. When she isn't reading or writing creepy stories, she enjoys cooking, crafting, and playing games across many platforms. She is the author of Daughters Unto Devils (Harlequin Teen 2015) and The Women In The Walls (Harlequin Teen 2016).

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  1. I'm not sure if it's expected or unexpected inspiration that I troll Wikipedia for that "spark" if I can't get it elsewhere.

    I start off at a page and just keep letting the links inside lead me around. About 95% of the time, I'll think, "Wow, that would be great in a manuscript." The strangest articles spark something in me -- psychology ones, mythology ones, nature ones. It's an amazing place to recharge your creative batteries.

  2. Tumblr and Pinterest are great for finding random images that spark ideas.

  3. My unexpected inspiration came from a TV show this summer. Franklin and Bash has some of the most creative dialogue I've heard in a very long time.

  4. That bloody Gaga picture is eye popping eh? My latest unexpected inspiration came from an open blog question like this. It was a cool question, and really got me thinking.

  5. My latest inspiration came from some type of animal skull that I almost ran over on my bike. I thought it was cool so I turned around and flipped it over, then took a picture on my phone. I look at the picture and I see how all fo the shadows fall over it from me and the bike and it just really gets my mind working.

  6. CHOPPED! I love that show.

    This is an awesome post, Amy! And Elizabeth - I totally follow the wikipedia breadcrumb trail for inspiration too. :)

  7. I love this, Amy! I guess the trick is to always be open to inspiration, wherever it may find you. Being pedantic towards things others may find insufferable limits the potential of outer-world inspiration. I love that you mentioned pop music, because while it's never been a mainstay in my music listening habits, dance hall anthems have taken over my summer soundtracks and they feel fresh and vibrant and, yeah, inspiring. People-watching tends to spark ideas, too.

  8. I was predictably inspired by the last shuttle launch to watch Apollo 13, but I was unexpectedly inspired by a minor plot point within the movie to start my next manuscript!


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Item Reviewed: Inspiration in Unexpected Places Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amy Lukavics