Writers tend to write on what interests them, what they write about, and importantly what they read. I know I take segments of ideas and combine them into my own stories and I can probably tell you where each idea comes from or at least how it started out. A flash of inspiration from the mystery I read last month, combined with ideas from some short stories and a healthy dose of dreams led to some ideas for Tyger’s Eye. The characters, the settings, the over all theme is my own (and no not talking about plagiarism here, just little ideas that tickle you with “what if this character did this?” things that often plague me when I read.)
But what often happens is a writer gets so caught up in one tiny genre they get stuck. Ideas can be worked to death and it is hard to find inspiration and even write when the bucket is so full of holes it won’t hold water anymore.
That is why I have been concentrating on flash pieces. It is exciting to be able to look forward to Sunday and a new 90 minute prompt from Show Me Your Lits (SMYL). Other writers like Eric J. Krause have a weekly prompt. Even contests like With Painted Words have visual prompts for prizes. I’m even going to participate in #5MinuteFiction this week.
That is where I am stuck today. The flash piece for WPW doesn’t want to be a flash. It doesn’t want to be horror either. It’s something much more out of my usual writing comfort zone. I think the last romantic tragedy I read was Romeo and Juliet in high school. But guess what? Where There is Water is demanding nothing less than a double (or more) word count and a voice I have not explored to the fullest yet.
Although this is entirely new territory for me, I have found a great deal of passion in these little bits of prose. I’m forced out of my bubble and see new ideas. Even my boring old works seem much more fresh.
So what do you do when you feel your writing getting stale?