Kick Ass Girls!

If you’re not aware, my debut novel The Doors was published by Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange (you can find the link below if you’re interested in taking a look at a YA with a twist!)

Today marks the promotion of the new project by Fire and Ice #kickassgirlsofya. We’re celebrating the strengths of our female heroines and you can get involved too! Check out the calender below and hold steady for more info. I’m running the Instagram event from 8th April and it’s one that you won’t want to miss!

If you want to take part, here’s the link for my Instagram account and I hope to see you there: https://www.instagram.com/alicejblack/

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Inspiration comes in the most Mundane

I often find that inspiration can be lacking. I think all writers go through this at some point. Sometimes we are so focused and have so much to do, yet trying to think of a story idea to work on can lead to frustration and apathy. I have struggled with this from time to time. I always find that the longer I don’t write for, the harder it is to get back into the swing of it and generate new ideas.

Currently, I’m working on my no zero days policy which is going well. Some days I write thousands of words, sometimes hundreds, sometimes just enough to call it a no zero day. While those days disappoint me I always have to remind myself to take each day as it comes.

I’m trying to enter a lot of short stories at the minute as well as editing my novel and I find that my biggest source of inspiration for this is my partner. I bounce ideas off him or tell him what the call is and he’s usually really great at getting my brain sparked and getting me writing. We seem to be on the same wavelength and we both wonder at odd things and pose silly questions to each other, you know those ‘what if’ questions. It never fails to get me thinking and that’s what I need. That’s what everybody needs. Something–or someone–who sparks your creativity.

A couple of things I do to spark my creativity:

* talk to my partner.
* pay close attention to my dreams.
* ask myself and others and situations the question: what if.
* look at my everyday life and the people in it.

I keep a notebook of my ideas, things I might want to work on in the future, things that interest me but I don’t have time to work on. It means that even if that spark hasn’t worked for me at this point, I know it might in the future. Sometimes just going back through that notebook is enough.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Circle of Trees: the idea.

I’m working on editing a novel I wrote during the 2013 NaNoWriMo extravaganza. I hit near 60k with this one (one of my longest to date on initial write) and I really loved it. It’s already had a couple of different titles and I’m working on giving it another for when I finish but for now we’ll call it The Circle of Trees.

This novel idea came to me when I was out walking one day. I remember the day just as it was: bright and sunny. I was out for one of my first walks with a hiking group, my dad in tow. We were hiking in Ingram Valley which is located in Breamish Valley, Northumberland. It’s a beautiful spot and one I’ve been to before with bbqs and friends for fun days out.

This day in particular was sweltering hot and we traversed up a narrow pathway up the side of a steep hill. My dad and myself were near the back of the group and as I walked, I watched my feet. There was no way I wanted to stumble and slip over the side! So I finally got to the top and as our group was moving over a stile one by one, I finally had the chance to look up. I saw hills after hills, greenery and blue sky. It was beautiful. That’s when I saw them. On the top of a hill there was a circle of trees. It struck me with the way they were formed, almost as if they had been put there on purpose, and I couldn’t help but think on it. It lingered in my mind and I wish I had managed to stop and take a photo – it was hard work keeping up with everyone – as there have been so many times I’ve wanted to go back and grab the shot and never managed yet.

As we ended the walk at the local pub with a well earned pint of beer and a snickers (essential walking food!) I got out my notebook and jotted a few things down. The idea grew from there and it seemed, so did the characters. When I wrote the novel in 2013 it was one of my easiest writes so far. I’d planned it well and I was so absorbed in the story itself.

Now I’m finally getting around to editing (five chapters in so far) with the hopes of submitting it when I’m done. So I’m going to start searching for publishers too!

Music

Do you listen to music as you write? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It really all depends on where I am at the time when I’m writing. I know that may sound strange. I have more of a habit of listening to movies in the background as I write. Anyone else do that? It’s those familiar movies that I feel a strong affiliation with (oftentimes they are the Middle Earth creations, Lord of the Rings). I do have the soundtracks too, but I like being able to take a glimpse at the screen and seeing a shot that might just get me hooked or thinking about something else or even spark an idea no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

I don’t often write something from music. I listen to a lot of heavy metal and rock and while it is absolutely my favourite music, I find that it isn’t often conducive to writing! Can you believe that 😉

Saying that, there will be times I hear a song that really catches my ear, or my heart, and it takes my mind on a wild journey.

Do you have any music like that?

Inspiration

I find that a subject a lot of authors get asked about is their inspiration. What inspired them to write that book? Where did the idea come from? It makes me wonder about my own inspiration and how I come to write the things I do.

For me, and The Doors (the young adult novel due for publication in September 2014) it was a dream. Yeah, I know how cliche that sounds. It is very cliche, but it’s true. Saying that, I don’t think much of what I dreamed actually transpired into the novel itself.

All I remember about the dream now is seeing a huge set of mosaic doors and when I looked at them, I felt this sense of fear rolling through my body. When I got up the next morning and went to work, I got to thinking: why did those doors make me feel like that? There was something about them I just couldn’t put away. I couldn’t just leave it, my mind wouldn’t rest. I had to write about those doors. And so I did.

The first draft of the story was about twenty pages long. Not long at all. But I loved writing every minute of it. I had a few people look it over and with a few comments and suggestions (most of which in a pretty positive light) I extended the piece, editing more than once, in order to make the novel what it is today. I never thought I would be someone who could write a novel. Not Alice who writes short stories and sometimes dabbles in poetry. But I did it. I guess it goes to show what we can do if we put our minds to it.

Not all of my inspiration comes from dreams, saying that. Actually, not most of it. I do sometimes wake with snippets of something I have to scribble down but mostly it comes from the everyday. Conversations I hear, people I meet, the image of something. It can all spark something in my mind and once my mind begins working overtime, the story begins to form.

Where do you get your inspiration from?