It seems that a number of my author friends are also partnered with a creative person. My husband is a musician. He plays guitar in three different groups—a rock band with four other members, and in two different acoustic trios--one where he is the lone guitarist with two female singers, and a second where he is one of two guitarist and all three of the members sing in harmony. Another author I know is also married to a guitarist and songwriter who tours extensively half of the year. Some authors are married to actors or dancers, or in the case of one friend, a multi-talented musician, dancer, singer, and actor.
The influence of these other creative endeavors is important to my work and how I fashion my novels. In fact, it is my exposure to my husband’s endeavors that was a part of me writing my Sweetwater Canyon series of books, beginning with Undertones and Healing Notes. In my books it is an all female band. However, my knowledge of the daily life of a musician--the hours of practice, the planning for gigs, the ups and downs of finances and relationships for people on the road-- was founded in my husband’s work and dreams, as well as the experience of other musicians I've met and become friends with along the way.
When I'm stuck in the choreographing of a scene or in determining how the emotion of the scene will play out, I often rely on my acting background. In my 20's and early 30's I pursued being an actor. In addition to small theater productions, I did summer stock at Sundance for three years and had three opportunities to play bit parts in movies that were filming in Utah. Now, I rely on that background to play out important scenes in my home office. I will read the part of a character and act out the emotion, the facial expressions, the gestures, the body language and the choreography I would as an actor. Then I capture that action in the scene by being able to describe it, or use it as part of the dialog.
Another technique I use for inspiration is to go to a dance performance, where the story is completely told through body language and music. I am entranced with the way the dancers' bodies mirror or juxtapose, create tension or soften to provide the emotional impact of the story. I often come away from a dance performance with a new way to describe how a character moves or presents herself/himself in a scene.
What do you use for inspiration? Are there particular creative endeavors you pursue? Or particular forms of creative expression you love to watch?