This is a hopper:
It’s basically a funnel type thing where you add stuff to other stuff. It’s also my term for putting stuff into my writing brain.
Because if you thought that reading books was enough to write books, well I’m here to tell you that you are – maybe right? I don’t know. Some people write that way. And some people never have to look at other kind of art or information to gain inspiration. Those people’s inner lives are so rich, so incredibly streaked with gold ore that they need put nothing in the hopper to turn out pure goodness.
Those people probably are really boring at parties BTW, since the last TV show they saw was Murder She Wrote. In primetime.
And those people aren’t me. I need raw material to go into the funnel-type things that are my senses so that when I’m writing, I can pull out half-macerated ideas that fit in with my story.
A news story about wearables that treat PTSD. Binge watching DeGrassi: Next Class. Remembering the way my cousin could sing a Journey song in perfect English, even though she doesn’t speak a word of English. All those pieces of information went into my hopper and made it into my last book.
I put stuff in the hopper. Add time and/or alcohol. Magical story-grade ore comes out.
So I thought I’d start a series called In The Hopper to call out types of raw material I use to keep this creaky version of Howl’s Moving Castle up on it’s chicken legs.
I listen to a lot of media. Audiobooks, NPR, radioplays and lots and lots of podcasts (which, I keep wanting to spell as ‘podcats’ so forgive me if that happens. I like the look of ‘podcats’).
I have two favorite podcasts right now; one for the WRITER the other for the AUTHOR. (Writer is who I am when I’m writing and thinking story; Author is who I am when I’m writing blog posts and thinking about the business of writing and reading.)
Okay, it’s in Spanish, so slight drawback if you don’t speak that language. But it’s SO GOOD. I wish I could give everyone I know a Douglas Adams style bablefish JUST so they could listen to RADIO AMBULANTE. It’s like Radio Lab for Latin America, but I find it even more interesting, more VITAL than Radio Lab or even This American Life. And the stories will kill you and make you laugh and cry and then make you hungry. That’s maybe just me.
You can read about their series here in English.
Am I the last writer on earth to know about Publishing Crawl? I read a lot of blogs and am constantly Googling around town trying to avoid my newsfeed of doom. How did I miss this blog AND podcast for FIVE YEARS? Because I suck, I hear you say. Verily.
I love the podcasts because they are deep, deep dives into the business of being a writer. Told from agent, editor, publicist perspectives, it’s like you have a direct line to publishing insiders. There’s nothing the co-hosts Kelly Van Sant and S. Jae-Jones won’t discuss. Some of it is terrifyingly frank – and if you don’t want to know how the sausage is made, this may not be the podcast for you. But if you want to understand publishing as a business and how you fit (hopefully) inside that business, it’s a must listen.
There are also wonderful craft-focused podcasts and awesome recommendations for other things to put into the hopper from these very talented ladies.
So. What do you put in the hopper? Where do you turn to for inspiration?
*totally did that on purpose.