The great Robyn Schneider, author of YA novel Knightley Academy, once told me that "Imagination is what you do with your inspiration." I thought that concept was mind-blowing personally. I was always under the perception that imagination and inspiration were two totally different things. However, the truth is that imagination isn't some omnipotent entity that creates exclusively original things. In fact, imagination simply builds on your inspiration. You could watch a movie, be incredibly inspired, and then write a book that is something totally new. Now that book was inspired by the movie, but you still came up with it on your own. Sometimes we all just need a little push in the right direction, and that's what makes inspiration so great.
I just finished the book Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins, and was almost in tears by the end. The final words of the book left my jaw on the floor and my soul fully inspired. It gave me so many ideas I thought I might burst. Ideas on plot, characters, scenes, and everything else imaginable seemed to swirl around me. It was my imagination that was building on the inspiration I received from those final words.
I've spent all of this time trying to simplify imagination that I didn't get a chance to mention the complexity of it. Imagination is simple and complex? Yes, it's a paradox, but trust me it's true. The human brain is truly a mystery, maybe one day we will understand it, but until then let me try and explain this. Have you ever just heard a sound, seen a picture, felt an emotion, and immediately a scene is in your head? No, whole scenes don't come to me at once full of dialogue and plot. Recently a thunderstorm was touching down in my neighborhood. I was walking past the front door when I heard the thunder crash. Somehow my mind quickly progressed to a simple image. It was a teenage boy standing in his home staring into the storm. The front of his house had been torn away and the rain flew into his once dry house and bounced of his cheeks. Now how many things can you do with that image? Quite a lot I believe. Inspiration comes from anywhere, you just always have to be on the look out for it. So keep en eye for a muse readers, because when inspiration strikes it is best to be ready!