Imagination requires fuel. As a writer, it’s important to me to feed my inner muse. Not by researching key historical facts or visiting museums or reading books on improving an author’s craft. All of those things are important, of course, but there are times when the creative well must simply be filled. Not with intentional, plot or character specific information, but simply with story.
I can’t tell you how many of my book ideas have come from movies I’ve seen or books I’ve read or television shows I’ve watched. I didn’t read or watch any of these with the desire to be inspired. Nevertheless, these stories have infiltrated my subconscious and left their mark. They are the fuel that feeds my muse, whether I realize it or not.
As a kid, when I would daydream, my flights of fancy always seemed to center around television shows. I imagined myself with Laura on the prairie or as the intrepid Dr. Quinn, medicine woman. I imagined myself solving crimes and developing super powers to defeat villains of all kinds. Perhaps because it is so visual, television seemed to become the major catalyst for my imagination.
Today, I still love watching shows that fuel my imagination. At the end of a long day, my husband and I will sit together in our recliners and watch a show together. Thanks to the DVR, we can record whatever we want and watch at our convenience. Since I don’t want to force him to watch shows he doesn’t like, we end up watching a lot of crime solving and high action shows like NCIS, CSI, and Agents of SHIELD. (And apparently we like shows with acronyms. Ha!)
But lately, I’ve found a handful of shows that really feed my inner muse.
This is a BBC show I just discovered through Netflix. It takes place at the end of the 19th century in a town in north east England at Britain’s first department store. The costumes are glorious, there is a great love story, and a touch of mystery to keep me clamoring for more. Unfortunately, there are only two seasons of the show. The first I watched through Netflix, and the second is currently playing on PBS right now on Sunday evenings.
This show feeds my historical muse.
Mary Connealy recommended this show to me about a year ago, and I’m so glad she did. It is set in small town in Wyoming and centers around a true cowboy sheriff who is the epitome of the strong, silent type. A man of integrity yet not without his demons, Walt Longmire is a fabulous character. The episodes follow a crime show series, but the western setting gets my creative cowboy juices flowing.
This show feeds my western muse.
This is a new show that just started on CBS. It is based off the life of a real person – Walter O’Brien – who has the 4th highest IQ in recorded history, a 197. In the show, he has a team of geniuses (who are delightfully socially awkward) consisting of a mechanical engineer, a psychologist who reminds me a bit of The Mentalist (another show I love), and a human calculator who can solve any mathematical problem in seconds. Being a nerd and the mother of several nerds, I’ve convinced my entire family to watch this show and cheer on characters who use their brains instead of guns to solve the world’s problems.
This show feeds my nerdy muse.
Beyond television or movies, though, the single best way that I fill my creative well is by reading other books. I read historical romance almost exclusively. It’s been my favorite genre since I was a kid. Any wonder that it’s the genre I chose to write? I read both in the general market and the inspirational market, and I am constantly inspired by the creativity of my fellow authors.
After attending a session at the RWA conference last summer, I joined a group of historical authors concerned with promoting the genre as a whole. Recently, this group came out with a video, and I’m so excited, because my cover for Full Steam Ahead is side by side with mega bestselling authors from the general market like Julia Quinn, Amanda Quick, Courtney Milan, and Stephanie Laurens just to name a few. The purpose of the video is to show the breadth and variety of the genre and to entice new readers to give historical romance a try.
Full Steam Ahead is featured near the middle. and I think my heroine’s expression helped land me a key spot in the video. It pauses on my cover to say “Let us surprise you” so that wide-eyed look on Nicole’s face is perfect!
- What things inspire your inner muse?
- Got any suggestions for shows that I might like to try to keep my creativity well full? I’m always on the lookout for some new show to get addicted to. Ha!