One major source of inspiration for me is roleplays. Some of you may know that my Berstru Tales series were inspired by the Battle! thread on the Underground. Most of the main characters were directly taken from that roleplay, and many of those that weren't (Dustin, Hunter, and Aleta) were still very heavily based on characters from the Battle! thread. (For any Underground elves who are curious: all three characters are inspired by Liessa's characters. Dustin and Hunter came from Ben and Cris, obviously, and Aleta, less obviously, was semi-based on Audri.) In fact, I think there's only three or four major characters who didn't, in some way, have their origins in the Battle! thread.
Another story that was strongly (though much less obviously) influenced by a roleplay thread is Poison Lies. The main characters were roughly inspired by three characters on the Character Chat thread on the Underground- not just any characters, though. These three were (and still are) some of my favorite characters made up by my friends, and they tend to cause me (and each other) a lot of heartbreak.
As I've mentioned before, another source of inspiration for my stories is music. I've written a great many characters, short stories, scenes, and even a whole novel, based on songs. Lately, music in and of itself has directly inspired fewer and fewer of my projects, but it remains an important factor. Part of the reason is that it's had less direct effects is likely that I'm writing fewer short stories, which are the main works that I write based off of songs.
A third place I find inspiration is, naturally, in books. How exactly the books inspire my writing varies, however. Sometimes the book inspires my novel directly. For example, my Berstru Tales dragons were heavily influenced by the dragons in The Inheritance Cycle, and The Lay of the Nightblade was partially inspired by Tolkien's Lay of Beren and Luthien. Also, several aspects of Danger in the Tower, my 12 Dancing Princesses retelling, were inspired by Entwined and Tales of Goldstone Wood.
Sometimes, however, books influence my novels less directly by first influencing my daydreams- and for the record, my daydreams are somewhat like novels themselves, particularly in that, if I'm interrupted during one, I'll pick up again later where I left off.. My most recent NaNo Novel, Between Two Worlds, was taken largely from one of my favorite daydreams, which has changed somewhat over the last several years, but has remained essentially the same. The main idea- the girl captured and broken by an enemy who then remade her into a tool for that enemy's own use- was largely taken from a combination of The Wingfeather Saga and Heartless. Naturally, exactly how this happens has changed from those stories to my daydream to my novel, but the basic idea remains fairly similar.
Where do you find inspiration? Please tell me in the comments, or feel free to make your own blog post. I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)