Thursday, June 27, 2013

Creative Partners Provide Inspiration in Writing and in Life

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.

Embracing many different creative endeavors, whether as a participant or as an observer, has always been a great way for me to get new inspiration—both in my writing and in life in general. So much of our human experience is not in words at all.  Being able to capture all those non-word moments in a novel and use it to speak for the character's experience is my aspiration with every book. 

What do you use for inspiration? Are there particular creative endeavors you pursue? Or particular forms of creative expression you love to watch?


Paty Jager said...

I envy people who have creative partners. My husband, while being supportive, isn't creative. I can't run ideas or thoughts by him for stories.

I like music to help me get into the story. And I like to watch dancing shows.

Susan said...

My husband isn't creative in the arts either, but no one can make an old muscle car purr the way he does :)

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Even though my husband is creative in music, and in cooking (thank goodness as I hate to cook), he is not patient for running story ideas by. However, he is always happy to help me facts.

He was a History and German major in college, with a specialization in military history. He also spent 12 years as a consular officer with the State Department and has lived in Africa. So, if I need information about geography, history, guns, wars, languages, and such he's my guy.

If I want to know what my fictional characters should do next, or how to build a fantasy world with multiple dimensions--not so much help. :)

Collette Cameron said...

My rogue is about as creative as a rock. Boy can he hunt though. The other day he was trying to come up with some sensual lines for my WIP.

Let's just say, I wasn't inspired!

This is the man who texts me and calls me his feisty Chinook Salmon. Yep, I can just see that in my next novel.

jamie said...

I find music inspiring. But in reply to above comments, while it is wonderfult o have a creative partner, there is also the flip side... like when we are both so passionate about a certain element - in total conflict -- in a story, we lose days of productivity. We have a 51% rule, but...