Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chris Lindberg Asks Writers: What's Your Sources of Inspiration?

English: Collage of photos of authors
English: Collage of photos of authors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sources of Inspiration: 

Authors or No Authors? 
(Comments Wanted) 
By Chris Lindberg 

A pretty common question for a writer is “what authors have inspired you?”  It’s actually a great question, since all writers’ styles and works are somehow related to one another: inspiration is what ties us all together. 

However, I am probably the odd person out here, but I’d have to say the majority of my inspiration doesn’t come from other authors at all.  Now, before you dismiss this crazy notion and close your browser window on me, please allow me just one more paragraph to make some sense here. 

Sure, I get inspired by good writing: Franzen, McCarthy, and others.  But reading the works of the best authors makes you want to continue to develop your prose, and take your writing to another level.  Will most of us get there?  No, not even close.  But it’s something to aspire to, and that pushes us along as writers. 

Now on the flip side, I’m also inspired by not-so-good writing (I won’t name names here, since good vs bad writing is clearly subjective): it gives me confidence to think that if some authors can make a living putting out that stuff, maybe my work just needs to catch the right set of eyes, and I’ll get a lucky break, too.  

But really, what inspires me more than any other authors’ works, is the stuff I see and hear on an every day basis. 

What stuff, you ask?  It could be anything, really.  A conversation you overhear.  Someone wearing an odd-looking shirt, walking by on the street.  A pair of dogs playing in a field.  A cloud pattern in the sky.  See?  Anything, really.  It just has to resonate with me: capture my attention for a split-second, and start a train of thought in my mind that turns into a scene, storyline, or character interaction.  And something I see or hear will likely only inspire me, not another writer; just like what another author sees may put a thought in his or her head that would never occur to me. 

And that’s what really inspires me as a writer, more than anything else.  What about you, is your main source of inspiration other authors, or something entirely different too? 
Chris Lindberg’s first novel, Code of Darkness, was released in August.  You can find out more by visiting www.codeofdarkness.com, or visiting Facebook and searching on “code of darkness.” 
To purchase Code of Darkness in paperback or e-book edition, please check out: http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?fListingClass=0&fSearch=code+of+darkness
Or search “code of darkness” on Amazon or BN.com. 
You can also email him at chris@codeofdarkness.com – he’d love to hear from you. 

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I enjoyed your interesting post. As a reader I often wonder what inspired a particular author, but as a writer, I'm inspired by life,how it affects people and how they deal with it. I'm especially interested in how their faith in God gets them through difficult times.

    1. Hi Gail - thanks for your comment. Definitely life in general, things we observe and absorb over time, can definitely inspire writing. And definitely faith can play a big part in that - how we center ourselves, what we use as a foundation. Writing is a release, really, for whatever we're experiencing, but you also need something to ground you.

  2. When I say I'm blessed with a terrific memory that's certainly an understatement. But perhaps 'blessed' is the wrong word. Sometimes my writing seems to be an exorcism of the bad as often as it is a remembrance of the good. My new novel is a case in point. The story is about an orphan from the orphanage next to my grade school. The real character was older than me by at least two years so there was no real reason to feel we should have been closer. Then one day a few years after they closed the orphanage, I made a wrong turn at the Catholic boarding school across town where we had basketball practice. There he was and I knew then he hadn't been adopted and probably wouldn't be...ever. Years again would pass and I saw him again. I suppose I could have gone up to him and said, 'Hi. I remember you from Holy Spirit,' (our grade school) and struck up a conversation. But he still had that orphan look about him. It was an expression that scared me and I never spoke to him. For the last two years I've worked to bring a version of this fellow back to life in my novel, The Children Shall Be Blameless. I finished it last month but in truth, the fellow I remember will never go away. I gave him another life in my fiction but I'm sure, if he's still alive he'll never read it. I suppose that's not the point but these are the things I now and then draw on for inspiration...the time I didn't take the time to say hello.

    1. Agreed, the things we don't do are sometimes the things we remember most, and what inspire the creative thought - what could we have done differently? How would things have turned out? Thank you for sharing that memory - reading it, I can visualize the situation even now. I remember a few things in my life similarly ... one in particular was a letter from a boy from my grandmother's home town in Sweden who'd written me when I was six years old, asking to be my pen pal. Back then, I remembered how exciting it was that this boy had written me from across the world, and what his life must have been like over there. But I never wrote him back. And with that decision, that inaction, I lost the chance to get to know someone new and different, who maybe could have opened my eyes to new experiences. I'll never know, but I'll never forget that letter or the opportunity that I let pass by.

  3. Enjoyed this post because as I read the question I thought, what really inspires me. I love reading but can't say it's a particular author. I too am inspired by life. occasionally it may be something I read but more likely it's a quote, not necessarily a whole book. It could be a thought that pops up in my head, something I read on Facebook (yeah, I'm on FB), a favorite song that I hear again but it provokes a different feeling this time, a past email or letter, even a picture.