What Inspires You?

I was tagged in a thing about inspiration on Twitter but instead of replying there I decide to write a blog post.

Here’s the original tweet:

These have recently inspired me in my writing:


The Long Goodbye and The Silence of the Lambs.

I’d read Chandler’s first book, The Big Sleep, a few years ago and while I felt it was okay it didn’t really leave that much of an impression. I’m currently working on a book where a detective on the police force has become estranged and a bit of a loner.

So I decided to read another Phillip Marlowe book to see how Chandler pulled it off and got The Long Goodby on audible. It is just fantastic. I mean, wow.

“When I got home I mixed a stiff one and stood by the open window in the living room and sipped it and listened to the groundswell of traffic on Laurel Canyon Boulevard and looked at the glare of the big angry city hanging over the shoulder of the hills through which the boulevard had been cut. Far off the banshee wail of police or fire sirens rose and fell, never for very long completely silent. Twenty four hours a day somebody is running, somebody else is trying to catch him. Out there in the night of a thousand crimes, people were dying, being maimed, cut by flying glass, crushed against steering wheels or under heavy tires. People were being beaten, robbed, strangled, raped, and murdered. People were hungry, sick; bored, desperate with loneliness or remorse or fear, angry, cruel, feverish, shaken by sobs. A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness. It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is. I didn’t have one. I didn’t care. I finished the drink and went to bed.”

Silence of the Lambs I read for the first time about a year ago, and have read it about four more times since then and listened to it on Audible about twice. There is so much that Thomas Harris does right and I just really wanted to pick it apart. The writing is really good, surprisingly so, and the pacing and characterization is enough to make a lesser author cry in despair.

Seriously, buy the book and read it.



I wanted to see how Seven does so much right and how it gets the atmosphere of dread and darkness so well, even in broad daylight. It allowed me to write for the atmosphere and not worry about the details too much.

You don’t get any backstory on the characters, for example, and no questions about John Doe are answered. It still works so well.

It reminded me that a thing doesn’t have to tick every box to be great.



As I start outlining a new project, it helps to have mood music. This is just great. (As I listen to this particular song, I envision a young petite woman wearing a pantsuit, ripping her way through an office building with a big sword, fighting off burly men in some Matrix-style action sequence).


Raymond Chandler. As I approach my 40th birthday with entirely too much speed, it helps to remember that he didn’t even start writing until he was forty-four. He wrote a few books, some of them masterpieces. I think they’ve all been made into movies.

Now you, what book, movie, song & person inspires you?


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