Is reading enough to spark creativity?

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Robin
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Robin » October 28th, 2010, 11:22 pm

Take a really good nap on the weekends. Naps (few and far between) always seem to give me really great material. I'll wake up and start writing stuff down. Sometimes before bed, if I am working on an especially difficult chapter or problem, I'll read it or concentrate on it and drift off thinking about it. Then it seems to play out in my dreams...

If that doesn't help, go to the mall ( or walmart) and people watch. Try to think of why they are walking around. Where they may be from. Who they are hidinng from, etc.

Best of luck!
Robin
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Beethovenfan
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Beethovenfan » October 31st, 2010, 3:44 am

Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allen Poe didn't have TV. They had their own life experiences and the things they read. That's all you need. All the rest will pretty much just get in the way.
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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Jenemb
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Jenemb » November 2nd, 2010, 7:55 am

Reading is great to get a sense of style, but don;t overdo it, because then you start comparing yourself to the authors you love, and you always come up short!

The best advice someone gave me was to always carry a notebook. That way, if you see something random that sparks an idea, jot it down. I have an entire file on my computer called "Ideas and weird crap". Sometimes those little random things will make connections, and before you know it you've got a Big Idea.

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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by dios4vida » November 4th, 2010, 5:57 pm

Jenemb wrote:Sometimes those little random things will make connections, and before you know it you've got a Big Idea.
Sheesh, ain't that the truth!! More than once I've filled a hole in a ms with some random, homeless idea I had written on my white board. It's a great feeling when you mash them together and then discover that they fit like you designed it that way. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Fenris
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Fenris » December 1st, 2010, 1:18 pm

I have to agree with a lot of people here. TV is not inspiration, thoughts are. Inspiration can be different for everyone. Keep your eyes and mind open, and it will come to you. Unleash your curiosity, and I mean make it rabid. Don't let a second go by without wondering what might happen IF Character X happened to meet Character B from that other book and what shenanigans might ensue, or what havoc they might be able to wreak in Universe K, from that one book over there on the floor. Reading is a valuable source of inspiration, but it is by no means the only one. The next time you walk down the street, entertain thoughts of what might happen if the characters from whatever source or genre were unleashed upon the scene. Dreams can also be a wonderful wellspring of inspiration, provided you can remember them upon waking.

I know I get a lot of inspiration from video games. But what's weird is that half the time I don't even have to play them. I'll just take a look at the box art, or one of the characters in gameplay...and something will click. I can't count the times I've taken said character or scene (usually character, almost always without even knowing their name) for a little imaginary spin, until I have something drastically different from whatever the game they originated from was about. Naturally, I'm not saying keep these characters. They're copyrighted. But take whatever about them grabbed you at first, and hang onto it. Eventually it will come in handy.

For me at least, inspiration is never instantaneous. Sure, I can find brilliant ideas in the depths of toasters (it's happened), but I can't take those ideas alone and make a great story, or even if I could I wouldn't want to. I wait until I have several "pieces" that I can link together to make a grand, vast universe that I can call my own. Then I proceed to wreck it through my characters. :)
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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Cookie
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Cookie » December 1st, 2010, 2:34 pm

Fenris wrote:Dreams can also be a wonderful wellspring of inspiration, provided you can remember them upon waking.
I seriously have had the best ideas for stories from my dreams. It's quite amazing what my subconscious comes up with. I just wish I was that brilliant awake. Also, the shower. I don't know what it is, but I've had some pretty good Aha! moment's in there. So much so that I am looking for a waterproof writing pad that I can stick in there so I don't either lose the thoughts or go streaking through my house with a head full of shampoo in search of a pen and paper.

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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Fenris » December 1st, 2010, 3:34 pm

Cookie wrote:
Fenris wrote: Dreams can also be a wonderful wellspring of inspiration, provided you can remember them upon waking.

I seriously have had the best ideas for stories from my dreams.
Me too! My WIP is largely made up of dreams that I wrote down and later made sense of, connecting them, weaving them together, and writing them down on paper (in a way that made sense, of course. Dreams are often nonsensical in their purest form, so it required a bit of modification). As my old English teacher used to say: "Pencil to forehead, brains to paper," thought I avoided taking him literally on that. :)
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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Cookie
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Cookie » December 1st, 2010, 3:36 pm

Fenris wrote:
Cookie wrote:
Fenris wrote: Dreams can also be a wonderful wellspring of inspiration, provided you can remember them upon waking.

I seriously have had the best ideas for stories from my dreams.
Me too! My WIP is largely made up of dreams that I wrote down and later made sense of, connecting them, weaving them together, and writing them down on paper (in a way that made sense, of course. Dreams are often nonsensical in their purest form, so it required a bit of modification). As my old English teacher used to say: "Pencil to forehead, brains to paper," thought I avoided taking him literally on that. :)
I've had those moments where I have woken up thinking that I just had quite possibly the strangest dream ever. My second thought usually runs along the lines of "That will make an awesome book!'

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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Fenris » December 1st, 2010, 3:44 pm

Cookie wrote:I've had those moments where I have woken up thinking that I just had quite possibly the strangest dream ever. My second thought usually runs along the lines of "That will make an awesome book!'
I know! Those I live with are constantly asking why my light keeps popping on and off in the middle of the night--it's because I wake up at three in the morning with these random ideas that could make great stories, whether stand-alone or in the series my WIP is a part of (hopefully).
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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Cookie
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Cookie » December 1st, 2010, 3:47 pm

Fenris wrote:I know! Those I live with are constantly asking why my light keeps popping on and off in the middle of the night--it's because I wake up at three in the morning with these random ideas that could make great stories, whether stand-alone or in the series my WIP is a part of (hopefully).
I do that too. I hate also when you are on the brink of sleep then have an awesome idea. I learned to always keep at least a pen and paper by my bed for those reasons.

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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Watcher55 » December 1st, 2010, 4:06 pm

Odd man out here, I keep the TV on (it stays muted and PandoraOne plays until I’m ready to pick up the pencil). I watch a lot of movies as well. I pick and choose what I actually consume but at bottom it has to have a good story that’s well told.

That being said, I don’t think I’m a mind numbed zombie because sparks are where you find them. Books, TV, movies, the school bus that just passed, the next person I meet some time between now and tomorrow or the saw that took my finger.

The tricky thing about sparks though is that I usually don’t know I’ve had one until I make myself put the graphite to the legal pad. Sharpened pencil vs. overactive mind.

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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Fenris » December 1st, 2010, 4:46 pm

Watcher55 wrote:Sharpened pencil vs. overactive mind
It's when the two join forces that things really start picking up. :)
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

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Watcher55
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Watcher55 » December 1st, 2010, 5:34 pm

Fenris wrote:
Watcher55 wrote:Sharpened pencil vs. overactive mind
It's when the two join forces that things really start picking up. :)
Yeah, the one disciplines other, kinda like sparring.

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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Fenris » December 2nd, 2010, 4:06 pm

I think one of the reasons people suggest reading as the best way to improve writing is because books/written sources are able to give clearer, more coherent examples of things and how to describe them than the other media.

For example, a fight scene. On television, we only see blood running down the face or torso of a character, and rarely will we hear another character remark on it (they're too engaged in the fight, after all). But on paper, we can't really see what's going on. It has to be described (or hopefully, "shown") to us. You'd never hear the phrase "blood ran in rivulets" on television. You'd just see the blood. On paper, we cannot rely on our eyes to do anything other than transmit words to our brain. Our imagination has to construct the scene itself, so the author has to be evocative in his or her descriptions. If the author does it well, the reader will acknowledge the awesomeness and wonder how they did it. So in a way, whenever we read such scenes, it's stretching our imaginations and showing us how to do things right. Without this instruction of "right" and "wrong," one's writing can become rather hit-and-miss.

So to make a long story short, it's learning by example. Reading can be less of an inspiration to do something than it is an instruction how to do it.
Hi, my name's Fenris. I'm a thousand-year-old monster who's broken free to destroy the world. Your kids will love me!

Steppe
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Re: Is reading enough to spark creativity?

Post by Steppe » December 4th, 2010, 8:10 am

Dear Jaya,

Story.


You are a prisoner in a thirty foot long by twenty foot room.
You are sitting in a black over-sized chair exactly in the middle.
You suddenly became conscious, easily slipping out of the arm rests.
A man enters handing you a mattress roll and thick blanket removing the chair.
You and he say nothing. He slides the chair into the hall closing the door behind him.
The formless room is marble, a row of five dull globes on the ceiling provide dusky light.

What happened?
Why are you there?
Who is this other person?
What's the last thing you remember.
Can you still remember your own name.
Are you able to sleep that night without a pillow.

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