brainstorming · Brinda Berry · muse

The Random Muse

The Waiting BoothPeople ask me how I come up with the ideas for my stories. It’s not always easy to answer this question. Sometimes the idea literally springs from nowhere. I can be inspired by music, images, news, and many other random everyday occurrences. A conversation with a co-worker about a date she had might create an entire romance in my mind. A news story on NPR about an overpopulation of rats in an area could easily turn into a horror novel. My debut YA novel, The Waiting Booth, actually began with an object that I passed in my vehicle daily.

I have a 100 mile round-trip commute to my day job. You can imagine that this leaves a lot of time for thinking and observing. Not even a mile from my house, I passed a structure at the end of someone’s driveway. I live in the country and this isolated wooden structure seemed a little odd and out of place until I figured out its purpose. I speculate that the owners had children at some time and needed a place for the kids to wait for the school bus.

During this same period of time, I also tended to listen to science podcasts during my drive. The shows discussed topics like black holes, synesthesia, and string theory. The melding together of all these visual and auditory cues became an idea for my YA novel. It blossomed into something that had to be put on paper. I think that the best ideas come when you relax and let your imagination take over. The red structure was taken down and hauled off this year. One day I passed the driveway and it was gone. Poof. I’m glad I took some pictures.

What inspires you from everyday life?

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17 thoughts on “The Random Muse

  1. I’ve had to do a lot of road trips the last 5 years, and several new story ideas have either come to me during those drives, or story lines have flushed out and plots have resolved while I’m behind the wheel. I think it’s the expanse of open road, and the fact that while behind the wheel, I can’t get involved in any other task besides thinking. My mind naturally wanders to writing.

  2. I did that all the time when I was young. Mom carted me and my brother here and there and I went off to fantasy land in the interim. And I didn’t realize until I read your post that I have been practicing story writing nearly my entire life. Awesome! Thanks Brinda! I love the picture, certainly it was a magical muse.

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