fantasy landscape with colorful clouds, a castle and an exploding sphere

Where do you go when you need inspiration?

This is something every creative person has to answer in their own way. 

Speaking for myself, I don’t think there is any one source, nothing that promises unequivocally, if you do this, the magic happens. 

I do know, though, that my best ideas happen when I take two separate things and bang them together until they fit. You can see this most readily in my recent Photoshop experiments. I’m usually not trying to produce something specific — I just grab a couple photos and see what happens when I layer them together in different ways. I stop when I find something I like enough to click Save. 

With writing, it’s a little more difficult.  There are no writing apps that let you experiment with tone or texture or mood at the touch of a button, let alone more complex ideas like character or theme. It takes a lot more time, effort, and deliberation to figure out how all the disparate elements will fit together. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, a particularly disheartening occurrence that leads to lots of deleted words. 

Other times, though, it really is magic. Sometimes two random elements, seemingly at odds with one another, suddenly come together with a snap of satisfaction. It’s like flipping the canvas 180 degrees, or changing the blending mode to something unexpected, and there it is, the image you didn’t even know you were trying for. 

I’m trying to find a little of that magic in the posts I’m working on for City of Bridges right now. There’s a bunch of things happening and I’m hoping that, by the time it’s done, it will all make sense together. That I’ll realize, ahhhh, that’s why I chose that mask for Barris, and yes, there is a bigger reason than self-amusement that Tierce is stuck in that boat. It’s hard to see right now, which I think I’ve spent so much effort avoiding the work — I hate the thought of spending the time and then having to undo the work. 

Right now, though, I don’t have a choice. Until in get I there and start banging the pieces I won’t have any idea what I’m making. I’ll just have to trust that it turns out to be something worth saving. 

P.S. I accidentally made art that is related to my WIP to go with this post. And yet, no new words tonight…

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