Whispers of Inspiration

The best story ideas can start as whispers. Maybe I saw a billboard while I was driving, or connected with a particular verse in a song. Or maybe a story from one of my friends took on a life of its own. Or it could be a single word or short phrase that clicked with me. Or one of the missed connections on craigslist. That, my friends, is a veritable fount of inspiration.

When they inevitably come, these little whispers flutter around in my mind. Sometimes they flutter right out again. Sometimes (okay, 99% of the time) they come to me in while I’m in the shower, when I have no means to jot them down. Of course. And then they’re forgotten by the time I get out.

But sometimes, something takes hold, takes root, and starts to grow.

Plus One_Brighton WalshAnd that’s how it was with my new release, PLUS ONE. I saw a writing prompt—secret crushes—and those two little words pinged around in my head for a while, and suddenly they started to grow. I got glimpses here and there—a confident, professional woman who had a string of bad luck with dates; she was at the age where many of her friends were getting married, and she was inundated with weddings to attend. And then pretty soon this guy came to me—this amazing, caring, sensitive, manly guy—who had a problem. The problem being the secret crush he’d been harboring for his sister’s best friend for as long as he could remember.

And then PLUS ONE was born. It came to me in flashes and floods—a detail here, a piece of dialogue there, an entire scene typed furiously on my iPhone notepad while waiting in line at school pick-up—and before I knew it, I’d written the first draft.

It isn’t always that easy. Inspiration is fickle and sometimes you have only a small handful of things to work with, but you don’t want to give up on them because you think you may have something really amazing there. And sometimes, like with Plus One, it comes at you like a tsunami, and all you can do is pray your fingers will fly across the keyboard fast enough to catch every last drop.


Whispers of Inspiration — 8 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing the inspiration for Plus One, Brighton! I’ve only followed through on a writing prompt once and it actually turned into a nice short story. I need to pursue this more often. A friend recently invited me to participate in a writing prompt contest. I’m going to buckle down and do it.

    The best ideas always come to me when I’m trying to sleep, or I’m driving. I’ve figured out how to record ideas at those times, but the shower is still tricky. But it might be worth it for you to invest in Aqua Notes – a waterproof notepad. Don’t want to lose all those brilliant ideas. 😉

  2. I love it when a story comes like that! Last week I couldn’t sleep because some dialog for my current WIP was running through my head. I had to grab my phone and get it down before it flitted away :)

  3. Hi, Brighton –

    I’ve definitely been known to use the recorder function on my phone, especially when I’m out walking. I also try to make notes in only one spiral for every project I have going on. Then I mark it in the margins, like BCB for a post for my Brain Candy blog or Paradise for my current story and each Friday, I transfer my notes to my project file. Keeps me from feeling so scattered!


  4. I do that, too, Kelsey. Especially when I’m driving. I get a lot of ideas then, too. And your style of note taking sounds like something I need to do. I have notes all over the place and it drives me crazy!

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