01-19-19 – Judith Ashley – My Sanctuaries and Safe Havens: Writing and Spiritual Practices

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sometimes I Need Visual Stimulation

B. A. Binns here. I took a screenwriting course from Michael Hauge two years ago and learned why many authors do not write the screenplay when their novels are adapted for film. I also learned to stimulate my muse by watching a movie unfold, seeing the stages and cataloging the checkpoints.

I began this month in a rut with not one but two different books, the sequel to PULL, my Young Adult Contemporary, and an adult Romantic Suspense novel. I was in massive writer’s block with both, so this past weekend I took myself away from the computer and to the movies to give my mind a break. I chose action flics and got energized instead of relaxed. And I learned two great things I’ll use in my future writing.

 The value of nostalgia

Captain America, the First Avenger was a double walk down memory lane. I’m a baby boomer, born after the triumphant return of a veteran, so I don’t exactly remember World War II. But it was prominent in my American History classes. And I grew up reading Captain America comics. I consider this movie an example of a historical the way they should be.  Added bonus, it almost makes me wish I’d paid more attention in school, if only to laugh at where they bend history just a trifle. (Maybe more than a trifle)

The virtue of mixing genre’s 

Will someone tell me why I didn’t think of the idea behind Cowboy’s and Aliens myself? The two genre's worked well together, and not just because of the charisma of the male leads. It could easily have been named Cowboys and Outlaws and Indians and Aliens and not only did the battle scenes and brave heros from the wild west energize me, the movie left me flowing with ideas for other genre blending tales.

And I guarantee the image of Daniel Craig in the cowboy shower will be in my head when I create the hero for my next book.

My  muse thanks me

I know the visual media of movies is not the same as the print media of books. But we both want to do the same things, entertain our customers and make them want to come back for more. And sometimes my muse really needs a good visual kick-start.  I don’t know whether it was the visual eye candy or just watching so many bad guys get what they deserved, but I’m back to pouring out the pages.
Leave me a comment and tell me how you get your own muse in gear. Just what you’re looking for in books and movies to for relaxation and entertainment yourself.

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Paty Jager said...

Great post! I use music to move me and my muse. w
Whether it's listening and coming up with a story idea or using it to trigger the book I'm working on. You're movie weekend sounds like it was the ticket you needed to jump into your work.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi B.A., I love reading about how different we Genre-istas are! And your process is Very Different from mine. I'm into relaxing and entertaining - meaning laughs. No sharp intakes of breath for me! Love that it worked for you. And the image of Daniel Craig in the shower would work for me too.

Judith Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donnell said...

Getting in touch with your muse. Helloooo muse. Sometimes movies are a great tool, but most of the time it's just getting away from the computer, or getting a keyboard that doesn't have access to the Internet. Too many things sidetrack me these days. So I take my notebook (you know, one of those old time things you write in :) and I escape to my bedroom or outdoors. I write in shorthand, and it's great because no matter what I write, not many can read it. It's my personal thoughts and my personal time when my writing doesn't have to be perfect!

Connie Gillam said...

Great blog, Barbara.

Different things jump start my block. I use music, movies, a book from my keeper shelf and exercise.

Sometimes as Donnell mentioned, I just have to walk away for a while.

Debra St. John said...

I use music as my muse. I listen to country, and let me tell you, there's a whole story in every song!


B. A. Binns said...

Debra, you're right about country music the stories inside are deep. And I used a lot of popular teen music when I wrote PULL, it helped me stay in the genre. (Someday I'll tell you about spending the day at a summer teen concert - thank God for ear plugs.

Judith Ashley said...

Great comment, Debra. Country and Western Music may be the ultimate short story.

Sandy said...

I must admit I'm in one of those slumps myself right now, B.A.

I haven't decided what to do yet, but I'm willing to try an action movie. Smile. Or read an action book. VBG.

SamMarie Ashe said...

Wonderful post, B.A.! I use music or the evening news, or the weird news section of the newspaper (or online news venues) to get my muse going. :)

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Hey, Barbara--reading, movies and cleaning get my creative mind working again. I hate cleaning, so that can be a most effecive tool. :)

Sarah Raplee said...

Doing something active or different helps me a lot of the time. I find if I'm stuck in the middle of a story, reading craft books can sometimes jar me loose. If I'm stuck at the climax, I read about writing Black Moments, epiphanies, climaxes, and denouments. Another trick is to make a collage of the story beginning a little ways before the place I got stuck. The visual medium uses different parts of the brain.

Excellent post, Barbara!

Betty Booher said...

Thanks for the great post!

I find lots of inspiration from photos and from news stories. Sometimes it only takes a sentence to spark that 'aha!' moment.

Music is problematic for me, I think because in another part of my life I'm a musician.

I know some people use music to relax, to provide background, to fall asleep by... I'm alway going, wait -- did you just hear that oboe melody???

Tam Linsey said...

Movies are a great source of inspiration for me, sometimes, as well. Particularly when I am stuck. I look for devices the movie used to get me unstuck. I saw Captain America and loved it - now I need to see Cowboys and Aliens, I guess!