Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Writer's Journey - Art as an Inspiration

(c) Elizabeth Kelly (ToryKasper) & Amanda Lafantasie (Skoora)

Oh, it feels good to be back. I apologize for my recent absence. I was cleared by the admins to take a break away from DW in order to focus on my studies at Uni. Well now that the semester is over I make a triumphant return, and for my first post of the summer I want to talk a little bit about inspiration. This is something we as writers are all familiar with, and there are a million and one phrases (probably more) about where inspiration comes from, how we are our own inspiration, and how we use our inspiration.

Many writers (including myself) find inspiration from music. There are many other forms of inspiration though, and I thought it might be prudent to talk a little about my own writing process, and how I work through the pages. It's quite a simple issue, while being altogether complex. Let me explain this in one word. Illustration. In many ways I differ from most artists, who have an image in their head that they get down onto the page through words. My inspiration comes first from my artwork.

(c) To Elizabeth Kelly - ToryKasper

For example. This is a picture that I drew, that started one of the most in depth stories I've ever written, coauthored by Skoora (Amanda Lafantasie). this is only one example of how a picture has influenced one of my stories. I often will struggle with what to write, my imagination not as vividly connected to imagery as many of my fellow writers. So I put my thoughts down onto the paper in another way, and from a picture, even a simple one like this one, a story blooms. Sometimes the pictures are simple, sometimes they are more complex, but their purpose is always the same. In terms of a chemical reaction, an enzyme is used to speed up the process, to create a stronger reaction between chemicals, and this is what my artwork does for my stories. 

Typically, I have an idea, but then I struggle with how to represent that idea. How do I describe this character? How do I show this scene in words? In what way can I bring setting to life. When I cannot answer these questions easily, I'll turn to my sketchpad or my art program and I'll start to sketch. The characters with my greatest characterization are those I've drawn in scene. The picture above is my namesake character, Tory. He was first built off of a picture too horrible to share, but fundamental in his original concept. From that one picture over a thousand of pages of writing has been born; both collaboratively and on my own.  Through out the years since his conception (seven to be exact), he has evolved, changed, moved, and regressed a number of times. He has revealed to me a different part of him, and always through artwork. 

(c) Elizabeth Kelly - ToryKasper

Another example is one of my fantasy characters, Thei, the man in blue sleeping at the desk. This is a character who has hundreds of pages, over a dozen different forms since his creation, and who has grown, and changed and inspired me as a writer a number of times since I conceived him.

This isn't meant to be the most insightful of posts, but a look into my process, and how my characters grow. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be able to visualize a character in my mind who doesn't need any outward attention to be easy to convey. Another of my collaborative works with Skoora is one of the few exceptions with my character Hal, who quite literally created himself and did and does whatever he wants. For a writer, this kind of character who can act on his own, remain consistent, but also grow, that is ideal. The sad truth is that this is often not true of many characters, and typically they need a nice nudge. Many writers do this through creating playlists, some watch movies, many (well most) read, and some of us draw.

So this brings me to my usual question. How do you find your inspiration, what ways really help you see your characters and inspire you to write? Do you have any suggestions to share?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weekly Vocab Word

su·sur·ra·tion (ss-rshn) also su·sur·rus (s-sûrs, -sr-)

n. A soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur.

[Middle English susurracioun, from Late Latin susurrti, susurrtin-, from Latin susurrtus, past participle of susurrre, to whisper, from susurrus,whisper, ultimately of imitative origin.]

su·surrant (s-sûrnt, -sr-), su·surrous (-sûrs, -sr-) adj.