When Inspiration Strikes.

First off, I’d like to thank  Benjamin Maughan and Edwin Ruud for inventing the water heater. Why, you ask, am I thanking them now? Well, as I’ve said before, I do most of my best writing and plot formulation while driving. What you may or may not know is that the shower is another place where inspiration likes to visit me.

That said, inspiration has struck with the force of a thunder-clap, splitting the skies open and raining down ideas with a ferocity that threatens to drown me. I am literally running around in circles with my hands outstretched trying to catch every drop and worried I might miss one.

It is my belief that writing is at least 75% daydreaming. That includes those moments where you don’t realize you are doing it. The ideas are steeping, believe me. I’ve said before that I roll my ideas around in my head like making snowmen. Sometimes there just isn’t much snow and the snowballs are made mostly of grass and dirt. That can be discouraging. But what I’ve come to realize is that under all that grass and grey, dirty snow,  the idea remains pure. I just have to strip off the grass and dirt and start again.

Well, I’m  here to tell you that the snow is pure, white and deep.

Now that’s not to say that I had hit a writer’s block, per se. Quite the opposite, in fact. The ideas have been trickling in. The seeds for a second Christmas story have been planted; a gothic Christmas tale tentatively called Archibald and the Gentlemen Three. As well, my fifth novel, a departure from the grim, a baseball book has been taking shape with a working tile of The Utility men.

What makes this particular inspiration deluge notable? On Monday I start A Novel Approach with James Dewar. I’ve worked with James and Sue before in 2009. Those two teachers along with an amazingly talented group of classmates, allowed me to finish the first draft of Echoes and I’m hoping for lightning to strike twice with the end results being a first draft of Appetites (novel#2 in a series of four books). So I’m gearing up for that with the intentions of working on Appetites. Funny thing is, this inspiration is on Echoes.

The feedback I received at Algonkian Writer’s Conference, from Sam Hiyate, was that I needed to get to the horror and the 1800’s sooner. I’ve not only found a way to do that but it meshes seamlessly with my original vision for the book. It is two stories in one and the 1800’s in my binding agent. Also, it lets me immerse myself once again in the history of Mary Shelley. I’m finding a curious Echo with what I’ve already written and what I’ve recently dug up. Intuitive writing rears up again and I’m beginning to accept the notion. How else could I possibly know that Percy Shelley had a thing for music and gifted a guitar to a friend. My Percy is a musician and his guitar features prominately.

Weird, hunh?

Well, I’m off to dump some of these ideas onto the page.


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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12 Responses to When Inspiration Strikes.

  1. Lisa Llamrei says:

    I love it when you keep mulling things over and over and over and suddenly the light comes on. You go with it – I can’t wait to read the result.

    • Dale Long says:

      My problem is, the light never just comes on in one room. I have to pick one with the risk that it will go out in the other rooms. So Echoes was my choice and the new ideas are going to be fun to write!

  2. Ah, Dale, your enthusiasm just gave me the umph to go back at it again! Not that I had stopped. Far from it. But sometimes seeing someone else’s enthusiasm kickstarts my own. Best wishes with all your projects, especially the Mary Shelley stuff. Always loved her story, that she wrote Frankenstein as part of a contest with her husband and someone else. I wager Frankenstein is just a little better known than Shelly’s poems and his reputation is not shabby.

    • Dale Long says:

      That’s exactly the reason I blog, Elaine. I’m glad to hear it gave you added “umph” 😉

      Mary was happy in Percy’s shadow even though hers soon elcipsed his.

  3. I’m reading your post going, “yes! yes! me too!” Between this AM’s shower, during which one of my short stories mushroomed into a much lengthier novel or novella (always good starter kernels in short stories…like the starter for making sourdough bread). As I drove, the story sprouted sub-plots and themes and symbolism. I’m still thinking about it, excited to start, but restrained by the gazillions of other projects I have.at various stages of completion.

    • Dale Long says:

      I love those momments, Claire! That is how The Last Gift came to be. I have a small recorder that I keep in the car for just that reason.
      I’ve decided I will embrace all the projects at once. In for a penny, in for a pound.

  4. Nate Shenk says:

    Sometimes I have nightmares about writers block…then I start worrying about getting writers block, which then leads to me eventually getting writers block.

    I think I need to see a therapist haha 😉

    Great, encouraging read sir!

    • Dale Long says:

      Thanks for dropping by, Nate.

      I find the best way to beat writers block is to attack it with questions. The five W’s normally do the trick. Not all of them work, but one will find the keystone and that wall comes tumbling down.

      Therapists? Writers don’t need no stinking therapists. All we need a blank page. 😉

  5. ralfast says:

    Fickle the Writing Muses are, but when the strike they give you a run for your life. Good luck on all your endeavors.

  6. Diane Dooley says:

    “It is my belief that writing is at least 75% daydreaming.”

    This is me. I should have known I’d end up being a writer based on my every school report mentioning my penchant for daydreaming in class. If only I’d known then what I know now. I always thought it a bad habit.

    *goes back to staring out the window and daydreaming*

    • Dale Long says:

      You’re a day tripper too?

      Same as you, I should have seen the signs. I said I didn’t start writing until 2008 but in looking back, my school days are littered with stories and poetry. I just categorized it as school work and dismissed it. Oh the folly of youth…

      What’s the saying? Youth is wasted on the young?

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