Meditations on Writing #2 – Inspiration: Character or Scene (oR An4rChy)?

One of the benefits of writing short pieces of fiction is that your imagination gets to run riot like a clown in a circus tent, but just how do I minimize my chance of writer’s block – simple – character and scene. 

Character – 
Think of someone you know or knew; someone you’ve read about – a person you see from afar. Let that be your inspiration and see what that character is telling you. Not what you know about them already but what your imagination wants to tell you. I use that trick quite a lot when I just have a complete blank as your mind will churn away in the background and create a story for you. Don’t over think it, just ruminate on it in your subconscious.

Oliver sat down at the kitchen table and starred at the dead budgie on the plate. Its feathers fluttered as the breeze came in from the window. He flicked the decapitated head off the plate, then got up and closed the window before opening the kitchen drawer and taking out a knife and fork….

Scene – 
Forget about the people, build the scene and they will come… Now you may think that the above example started with the scene, but it didn’t. It started with me remembering someone I knew from my childhood and the rest just presented itself, ready to make into a story. 
With the scene I’d start with picturing a location, or mental diorama. Again, you can get that from anywhere – be it your imagination or a piece of art, or a people standing or sitting in the park. It may seem like these are closely link and they are – you’re writing fiction after all – but there’s a subtle difference in how your brain is processing that information, which helps you get over that mental block.

The black rain hammered the cottage roof as they looked out over the valley. Through the double layers of gas mask and smeared window everything was blurry but still they watched on in horror as the river burst its banks. The radio behind them crackled a warning of evacuation as the land around them filled with darkness. They turned their heads upwards and clung to their packs as they climbed up the ladder leading to the roof. 

Both ideas have potential and both of them started with very different points. If your mind goes blank, try another tactic… 

If everything fails – type words until something emerges…write what you see… write anything, just write…

The socks lay idly on the bed as if waiting for their master to decide on their fate, their programming had mastered the art of temperature and moisture control, but their hardware had deliberately been left without legs. In hindsight, it was always going to be something as mundane as socks that developed AI first. 

Some of these tricks may help, some may not, but whatever happens, enjoy the process as the end of your imagination never comes…

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3 thoughts on “Meditations on Writing #2 – Inspiration: Character or Scene (oR An4rChy)?

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