Novel Ideas: Finding Inspiration to Write
by Jacqueline Seewald
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Thomas Alva Edison
Those of us who write novels share several things in common. We need to write as a form of self-expression. We are also people who like to read. We delight in connecting with a good book and enjoy reading regularly. We also read magazines and newspapers and are aware of what’s happening in the world. We feel the urge to communicate our own sense of reality through words.
So where do we find that one percent of inspiration that will guide our 99 percent of perspiration? Some of inspiration is the product of imagination. Speaking for myself, I find much inspiration in real life, living life as fully and actively as possible. For example, I became intrigued with "inferno collections" during the time of my library studies at Rutgers and while working at Alexander Library. I thought the concept would make a unique frame for a romantic suspense/mystery novel. It started when I attended a symposium where the lecturer was a Princeton University librarian who spoke eloquently about inferno collections, their connection with banned books particularly in the Victorian era. Not only did inferno collections exist in the past but still exist in more sophisticated and subtle forms today. This was how the novel THE INFERNO COLLECTION began.
The second romantic mystery novel in this series, THE DROWNING POOL, started with my talking to and observing various interesting individuals at a swim club some years ago. Kim Reynolds, a librarian with paranormal talent and crime-solving ability, will return in a third romantic mystery, THE TRUTH SLEUTH, which Five Star will publish in 2011. It too is inspired by real life experience.
For my children’s picture book, A DEVIL IN THE PINES, I created a faction story. I used the real setting of the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the legend of the Jersey Devil combined with the fictional story of a little boy who learns how to deal with fear. Afton Publishing has kept this book in print from its publication in 1999 to the present. The inspiration for this particular book came from working as an educational media specialist/school librarian in an elementary library for several years and finding that such a book which was needed for school projects didn’t exist. This book filled the void.
The inspiration to write can take many forms, but I believe it’s there in all of us if we choose to follow our muse. I hope you will take a few minutes to share your own sources of inspiration in writing. What has provided you with your novel ideas?