PDA

View Full Version : Need Inspiration



Mao
12-01-2007, 03:54 PM
I'm a newbie here, so I'm not sure if this is the right place for this...

But I need help getting inspired to write another book. I had a book on dressage (horse riding discipline) published by Half Halt Press a few years ago. It was pretty well-received - although obviously to a very specific audience. Since then, the publisher has asked me a couple times to write another book.

I've toyed with a few ideas, and the publisher even offered a suggestion, but I just come up dry bringing anything to life. The book I wrote - non-fiction/humor - was the culmination of personal experience in the area of dressage riding. I was totally inspired and whipped it out in a few months. It was my first and only attempt at writing a book and I've no formal background or training in writing.

So, I'm wondering if there are formal techniques or strategies I could use? It seems like a wasted opportunity not to pursue this - aside from excuses that I become distracted by the real world - lol!

Any ideas? Thanks!

Fox The Cave
12-01-2007, 05:36 PM
This is going to sound dull, but unfortunately writing is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.

If you do happen to get inspired, then great. Unfortunately, you can't just sit around waiting for inspiration to hit. To write another book, you're going to have to just sit down and write another book...it doesn't matter if the idea isn't immediately brilliant, you'll MAKE it brilliant.

Will Lavender
12-01-2007, 05:41 PM
Welcome to a fellow Kentuckian! Love the Paris/Lexington area. Would love to live there one day.

I agree with the above poster: inspiration is fine in theory, but writing is essentially about hard work. It also seems to me that you're looking for a manual to help you begin, which is strange becuase you've already done it. That's what I would keep telling myself: I've already done it once, so I can do it again. If you wrote the first book, then you can write the second book.

Also, I wouldn't do it if it's something you didn't enjoy the first time around. Why do something that you dislike just because someone is asking you to do it? If I didn't want to write a book, and if I had no contractual obligations to do so, I wouldn't. Personally, I write because I would go crazy if I didn't. It sounds like you're on the other end of that spectrum, maybe.

miles
12-01-2007, 05:45 PM
Well, this is the novel writing forum. Does your publisher want a novel this time? Maybe ask in Writing Nonfiction Books (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=13).

citymouse
12-01-2007, 05:59 PM
Mao, It has been said that everyone has at least one book in him. Clearly some have many more. You may have had yours. Or like others you may have many more stories to tell.
You said that your publisher urges you to write another book. What kind of book would this be. Fiction, non-fiction, fantasy or ....?

Is this enthusiasm a product of your publisher or is this something you want? Would you think of writing another book without the publisher urging? I think this is an important question to answer.

As far as I know there are no formal techniques to gain inspiration.

Your signature reads "Promoting Nokotas & American Indian Horses". The
story of the US army's attempt to wipe out the Appaloosa after winning a five day battle at Bears Paw Mountains against the Nez Perce would, to me be a good story. Think about it.

Good Luck,
C






I'm a newbie here, so I'm not sure if this is the right place for this...

But I need help getting inspired to write another book. I had a book on dressage (horse riding discipline) published by Half Halt Press a few years ago. It was pretty well-received - although obviously to a very specific audience. Since then, the publisher has asked me a couple times to write another book.

I've toyed with a few ideas, and the publisher even offered a suggestion, but I just come up dry bringing anything to life. The book I wrote - non-fiction/humor - was the culmination of personal experience in the area of dressage riding. I was totally inspired and whipped it out in a few months. It was my first and only attempt at writing a book and I've no formal background or training in writing.

So, I'm wondering if there are formal techniques or strategies I could use? It seems like a wasted opportunity not to pursue this - aside from excuses that I become distracted by the real world - lol!

Any ideas? Thanks!

Mao
12-02-2007, 02:09 AM
Thanks so much for the thoughts.

I'd love to write about the Nokota horses. It's a magnificent story - better than Disney's best - lol! But my first problem is relevancy. Pragmatically speaking, someone has to be interested in buying it. Early on, my publisher cut me off at the pass at even thinking about a book on Nokotas. Later, she gave the nod to try it. I was very excited and considered that a huge achievement.

Then, every time I've try to put it to paper... nothing. I think the problem again is relevancy. What I know from my experience with my dressage book - it was based around my personal experiences, but it was published because it was meaningful to everyone who's tried dressage. And it was funny - unique in such a stodgy sport. People didn't buy it to read about my experience, but to feel better about their experience. It was relevant to them.

Nokotas are much more close to my heart than dressage. And the highs and lows of the Nokota story feels beyond the scope of my ability. I don't know how to write it to make it meaningful/relevant to a broader audience. I can make them laugh, but can I make them cry too?

Does that make sense or too much Irish melodrama???

Anyway, I do have this story to tell, but I don't even know how to approach it - it's so different (to me) than the dressage book. It's a worthy of Seabiscuit treatment, and I'm no Laura Hillenbrand - lol!

Thanks again for the opportunity to even express this - it's first time I've put this is somewhat coherent fashion for public consumption!

JLCwrites
12-02-2007, 02:34 AM
LOVE Dressage! I had an Arabian horse that I would practice dressage with. (A little hot blooded for dressage... but thats Arabian horses for you!)

Maybe a story about a cowboy who switched from reining to dressage. (You know.... like those stories about hockey players who become figure skaters)

Just an idea.
-TL

Oh... I just read your previous post... maybe a Nakota horse that breaks through the dressage barrier after a stint in reining that didn't go well.... Hmmm.. still thinking.

Scribhneoir
12-02-2007, 02:54 AM
I'd love to write about the Nokota horses. It's a magnificent story - better than Disney's best - lol! But my first problem is relevancy. Pragmatically speaking, someone has to be interested in buying it.

If it's a magnificent story that you're passionate about, then go ahead and write it. Your audience could be bigger than you think -- not just horse lovers, but those interested in animals in general, in history (of the West, the US Army, the Nez Perce), and in general non-fiction.



Then, every time I've try to put it to paper... nothing. I think the problem again is relevancy.

Forget about relevancy. Write what stirs your soul and it's sure to stir others.



And the highs and lows of the Nokota story feels beyond the scope of my ability. I don't know how to write it to make it meaningful/relevant to a broader audience. I can make them laugh, but can I make them cry too?

You'll never know until you try. I say go for it.

Church Lady
12-02-2007, 03:20 AM
I love CityMouse's idea! You could springboard from there. There are several historical stories about horses which may appeal to a wider audience than dressage stories.

Good luck!

sandyn
12-02-2007, 05:17 AM
I think horses appeal to a wide audience. I was born and raised in Kentucky, and have been to Kentucky Horse Park. Since I was already in love with horses, the movie they show there brought me near tears. And wandering around there was like being in heaven.

I've peeked at your website. I think you have a WEALTH of stories you could tell about your magnificent horses--fiction or non-fiction. I'm sure each breed and each horse has its own personality and that could be springboard for a story. I agree that Citymouse had a great idea also.

Good luck!

wayndom
12-03-2007, 07:20 AM
Ray Bradbury's slim book, Zen and the Art of Writing might help. It's the only book I'm aware of that actually addresses where one can find inspiration.

Joe Bob says, check it out...

Novelhistorian
12-03-2007, 08:49 AM
Recently, a post on AW led me to The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp, the choreographer. I highly recommend it, and your struggle reminded me of something she said: that creative works rarely result from one big idea, but from two smaller ones in combination. That notion has helped me, and it might help you, but even if it doesn't, her book is a fine one to read if you're casting about for what to write next or stuck on a project that doesn't seem to move.

KarlaErikaCal
12-05-2007, 03:32 AM
A good idea is to free write. I do that whenever I need ideas for a chapter or something, only because most of my novel ideas come from my dreams. This is a link to a site that shows you step by step how to do that:

http://www.wikihow.com/Freewrite

There are also links to other wikiHow pages such as how to make a mind map or how to brainstorm. Those are helpful as well.

Good luck with a future novel! I'm sure you'll find a great idea. :)

aka eraser
12-05-2007, 04:43 AM
What Scribhneoir said.

And Nike. ;)

SHBueche
12-05-2007, 05:26 PM
Interesting you brought up Nakota horses, there is a thread about them in the Writing About Animals section of AW forums. Also, "Seabiscuit's" author Hillenbrand (sp?), she wrote the book under a great deal of stress, the story of her writing the book is a story in and of itself.