Monday, 28 March 2011

Inspiration by Lynne Garner

I recently started to teach a creative writing course. During one of the sessions a student asked where I got my inspiration. They asked because this was something they struggled with. Once they had a story line everything else fell into place, however that initial spark was a problem. My first instinct was to reply everywhere. However I was aware this was not a good enough answer. I listed off newspaper clippings, song titles, poems, people watching, an over heard comment, TV and film etc. etc. but then decided to analyse where my ideas had really come from.
I thought about the three picture books I’ve been lucky enough to have published. The first ‘A Book For Bramble’ evolved from my work with a not-for-profit organisation that rescues sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs. I began to wonder what (if any) dreams hedgehogs have whilst they hibernate. Slowly the story of Bramble the hedgehog and his friend Teasel the mouse evolved.
My second book ‘The Best Jumper’ grew from a conversation with a friend. We were discussing putting on weight and no longer being able to wear that favourite garment. We agreed at least we had the chance to lose the weight and squeeze back into that garment. Unlike children who would never be able to squeeze back into their favourite piece of clothing because they’d grown out of.
My last book ‘Dog Did It’ came from owning a dog. Anyone who lives with a canine friend will know they can sometimes suffer from flatulence. This aromatic problem can sometimes result in a statement along the lines of “the dog did it!”
So my three books have come from:
  • An idle question
  • A conversation
  • A life experience
The latest story I’m working on is one about friendship and what it means to be a friend. I’ll be honest I have no idea where the idea came from. I can only assume my brain cell picked up an idea and ran with it. I was then gifted with an almost complete story, which I’m now trying to get onto paper.
So this got my wondering about where other authors get their ideas? So if you’ve read this and would like to share, I’d love to know who or what has inspired you.


Leslie Wilson said...

Good post, Lynne! I have ordered 'Dog Did It,' and it's waiting at the bookshop for me to collect it. I get a wisp of an idea first, sometimes just a period or a theme I want to explore, then other ideas add themselves to it. But the idea never properly has legs till I have heard the characters'voices in my head.

catdownunder said...

I have not yet reached the giddy heights of publication - if ever. However I have finally (and with much trepidation) submitted something which is based on a real life incident. It was told to me in the course of doing some serious academic research - but I had to wait almost twenty years before I had the time to start writing it!

Inkpen said...

My latest thought, which happily seems to be borne out by your own descriptions above, is that when I have a first idea - one which I'm sure is good but which doesn't quite work - I stand back from it. I try to look at it sideways, and from the opposite direction, as though it's a sculpture I am walking around. When I see it from the other side, it can transform the pedestrian into something much more interesting that makes me genuinely want to write it and then may well make it sell! Like the hedgehogs - taking the thought of hibernation and flipping it upside down to see it from their viewpoint?