Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson



Where do ideas come from? I look at a blank page like I can will words to simply appear on it, stories to take shape. Blank pages are too much for me to handle sometimes and when that happens, I’ll ask for prompts. Prompts are great. Sometimes what comes from them has nothing to do with my initial expectation or supposition (I’ll post a story or two I wrote from prompts pretty soon).

One thing I’ve been enjoying so much lately takes place on twitter. If you follow writer/producer Jane Espenson (@JaneEspenson), you might know she hosts writing sprints. These one-hour fic-writing blasts don’t happen regularly; Jane’s a busy person. But I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in a couple of these. In both cases, I started with that dreaded blank piece of paper and in both cases, I ended up with lots of words and some of them were even really nice words. It helps that I had at least a germ of an idea tickling the back of my thoughts both times (when in doubt, I always play with character studies or character backstory pieces).

So what is it, I ask myself, that enables me to jump when Jane says go? It isn’t as if she’s got expectations of me, and it isn’t that I had expectations of myself either. It’s that someone else is waving the baton. It’s a different experience, a different mind-set. Did I shut out everything else? No, not really, my life doesn’t work that way most evenings. But I was able to shut out enough other distractions so that I could actually write.

Writing is a pleasure. It’s not that hard to make it into a habit, but sometimes it’s really nice to have someone else around to give me the shove I need in order to get going.


Author: G.L. Jackson

Writer, reader, amateur photographer. Mostly, I just like pretending to be a different person each day of the week.

4 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. Love this! Sometimes I’m of the make it till I can fake it type of variety or go with a word generator or think of what would happen if I threw a certain character into a certain situation. Love all of the above and love Jane, too!


    • I don’t think any words we get on paper are ever wasted. I’m a bit of a compulsive editor in that I’ll go back over my stuff time and time again. Sometimes that’s its own inspiration too. But there really is something magical in setting aside that hour with the express purpose of writing something, anything, right now.


  2. Ficlet O’Clock does that for me. I can usually write to someone else’s prompt. Not always, but almost always.


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