Finding Inspiration Outside of Your Usual Genre

When I tell people that I’m a YA fantasy author, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is “Where do you find your inspiration?” I’m asked it often enough that I usually have to suppress some sort of groan. Not because it’s a dumb question (I’m certainly interested in other people’s creative processes, too!), but rather because there is NO simple answer and to try to sum it all up in a few sentences is IMPOSSIBLE.

Usually, I opt just to say “Music—like, movie scores and classical music.” And while that’s true (all of my novels have super-detailed playlists that are essentially an outline in music form), I’ve been doing a bunch of thinking lately about where my inspiration comes from—and music isn’t the sole source. (Though that seems kinda obvious, right?)

Like most writers, my creativity ebbs and flows. I have some months where I write, write, write and can’t even bother to eat/clean/sleep because I’m so immersed in the story clawing its way out of me. Then I also have months where the idea of sitting down at my desk is PAINFUL, and I hide from my writing by burying myself in TV shows or movies or books or ANYTHING other than writing.

For a while, I’d face those off-periods by listening to the same music that’s always inspired me, by watching fantasy films and reading fantasy books. And while those things definitely ignite some kind of creative spark, I’ve recently found that watching movies or TV shows that are COMPLETELY out of my usual creative vein is just as rejuvenating—and educational. There’s something about seeing storytelling done in another, more visual form that makes me start thinking of my own writing/stories from a different angle—and often helps me sort out some of the issues that got me stuck in the first place.

So, I figured I’d share some of those NON-fantasy/sci-fi movies and TV shows that have inspired me in some way or another, and helped get my creative juices flowing. I’d seriously recommend watching any of the films/shows listed—aside from their writing uses, they’re all fabulously entertaining.

FILMS

Attack The Block: Okay, so I’m cheating a little with this one because there are aliens in this so it’s kinda SF/F, BUT this wasn’t really a “big” film in the US and most people haven’t heard of it, so…yeah. This movie  is a GENIUS bit of storytelling and characterization. I rented it one night and wound up watching it TWICE before I had to return it the following day. It’s particularly clever because you initially effing HATE the protagonists (inner city gang members) and hope they get eaten by the aliens—and then by the end of the film, you find yourself rooting for them (and weeping…but that may just be me). The way the characters are established as common thugs and then slowly humanized—layer by layer—is really some of the best character-building I’ve seen EVER, either in film or in literature. Not to mention the way the character-building is visually echoed. Seriously, I wish I could write the YA version of this film.

Gone With the Wind: Perhaps my #1 non-fantasy/sci-fi favorite movie. Watch it for Scarlett’s characterization/arc alone, but stay for the sweeping plot, amazing costumes, and…Rhett Butler. Seriously, set aside one Saturday and just WATCH IT.

Marie Antoinette: It’s visually stunning (seriously, it’s ridiculously gorgeous). Confession: I was initially really, really jarred by the combination of a period piece with such modern music. But then I watched it a second time, and then a third time, and…now it’s one of those movies that inspires me to think outside of the box just because it’s so bold and unique and different.

Fright Night (the remake): Oh, this film. (Okay, so it has vampires, so it’s kindaaa fantasy, but still…). I honestly would tell ANYONE to watch it, writer or not. I made my BFFer & fellow Pub Crawler, Susan Dennard, watch it, and look at what SHE wound up saying. This movie is an awesome, awesome blend of stellar characterization, comedy, and horror (seriously, even if you don’t have horror elements in your novel, you should pay attention to how they establish and build upon the tension). And you want to learn how to make your antagonist believable? Just watch Colin Farrell’s performance as Jerry—he’s multifaceted, utterly creepy, and hilarious. Also: if you DO have action and/or horror in your novel, I’d recommend it just to get ideas for how to do it realistically and accessibly.

Jaws: Another horror film, but…it’s probably had as big an impact on me as Gone With The Wind. The #1 lesson I’ve taken to heart from this movie? The Shark is scarier WITHOUT seeing him. You don’t need to have a man-eating monster in your book to learn from that. (I caught War Of The Worlds on TV this weekend, and had this belief reaffirmed—the aliens stop being threatening/scary as soon as you see them. Leaving things to the imagination can sometimes be way more petrifying.) Plus, you want to talk about character-building? Quint’s monologue about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis remains one of the most chill-inducing and powerful bits of character histories I’ve ever seen in my LIFE.

Additional Movies:

TV SERIES

Veronica Mars: I fell in love with this series in the first FIVE minutes of Episode 1. Moved to tears and just…utterly smitten. If anything, watch the first episode. It’s great at establishing the status quo, the stakes, character histories and motivations, and has twists galore! And if you want to learn something about how to write SIZZLING romantic chemistry, then just watch/observe how the romance is handled in the series. Really, VM is one of the most under-appreciated and brilliant shows ever.

Downton Abbey: You’re probably already watching this, but Downton Abbey an awesome blend of characterization, elegant (and beautiful!) world-building, and plot-weaving. If you’re writing a story with a large cast of characters, DA is definitely worth checking out—every single one of the characters on this show (however important or minor) feels like a REAL person. Plus, the way all of the romance is handled is just…lovely.

Revenge: It’s just…fabulous. Dark and twisty and full of secrets and despicable, love-to-hate characters and high stakes. And the structure of the series (it begins with a murder scene, then jumps back several months, so we follow along as it builds up to the truth behind the fateful event) is definitely worth studying.

Rome: Oh, this show only lasted two seasons, but they packed in SO MUCH, and it STILL remains one of my all-time favorite TV series. Thinking about the season 1 final STILL makes me teary-eyed. Great characters, intricate plotting, and brutal stakes. Absolutely incredible.

Friday Night Lights: Just watch it. Period.

Additional Shows

So, you tell me: are there any films or TV series that are OUTSIDE of your usual writing genre that inspire YOU?

In honor of all these awesome movies, I’m doing a contest! Enter below to win a DVD of ONE of the following movies (US Only, sorry!!): Jaws, Marie Antoinette, Fright Night, Amelie, or Attack the Block! OR, if none of those float your boat, you can instead choose to receive a $20 Amazon giftcard to buy the movie of your choice!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

78 Responses to Finding Inspiration Outside of Your Usual Genre

  1. Christina Kit. Feb 21 2012 at 5:45 am #

    I love it when people share the way they get inspiration!

    I totally agree with Veronica Mars, Jaws, Gone with the Wind and Friday Night Lights!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 11:55 am #

      I’m always super-curious, too, about where writers (and other artistic-types) get their inspiration!!! And YAY for another Friday Night Lights fan!! <3

  2. Christina Kit. Feb 21 2012 at 5:46 am #

    What’s totally out of my genre is historical fiction, but I love it like you! Rome is awesome!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 11:56 am #

      Isn’t Rome SO GREAT!?!? One of the most under-appreciated shows ever. I wish it had gotten more than two seasons!!!!

  3. Julie
    Julie Feb 21 2012 at 6:55 am #

    “Yes, The Goonies” <3 Great post Sarah!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Hehehe, I LOOOVE The Goonies SO MUCH. <3

      And thanks, Julie!!!

  4. Diyana Feb 21 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Totally agree with all your recs! I <3 Attack the Block something fierce, and Marie Antoinette is just drop-dead gorgeous and completely unique! Downton Abbey's my current go-to for period dress and etiquette 😀

    I actually watch a lot of comedy for the wit and the quips…so 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, SNL, Ellen…etc. Also, my brain tends to clamor for rest 😛 I also have a thing for movies that play with timelines, like Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind and Memento. I get a kick from figuring out how the different pieces of the puzzle fit into the big picture, and it helps me think about my big-picture plot and then figure out the details.

    And, totally cheating here, but can I just say FIREFLY?! It's totally within genre for me, but that series has some of the best world-building and cast of characters I've ever seen. EVER. Gah. Wish I had Whedon's vision.

    Love your post!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 11:58 am #

      YAY for another Attack the Block fan!!! Wasn’t that movie SO GOOD? No one has heard of it in the States, which just…baffles me, considering that it was one of the most original alien-invasion movies I’ve ever seen! Though, if they make an American version, I will KILL SOMEONE.

      And lol, FIREFLY is totally cheating, BUT it is totally inspiring in EVERY SENSE. I wish I had Whedon’s vision, too!!!!!!!

  5. Marc Vun Kannon Feb 21 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I just recently wrote a fanfic because of the ending of the show Chuck, which is a romantic comedy with a spy/espionage theme. The finale of the series left a large plotline unresolved, so I resolved it. (It’s up on fanfiction.net as well as my own blogsite, if you’re interested and know anything about the show.) As it turns out, so did lots of other people. I generally only write these due to unresolved plots. Otherwise I don’t generally watch shows outside the SF/F arena.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      Haha, that’s awesome!!! Unresolved plots drive me CRAZY.

      • Marc Vun Kannon Feb 21 2012 at 12:05 pm #

        This one drove me so crazy I wrote a 7K short story in 3 days. Very tiring, but exhilarating. (I blogged about it, of course.)

  6. Erin Bowman
    Erin Bowman Feb 21 2012 at 9:37 am #

    THE GOONIES!!! Yes. So much love for that movie. It is like, the perfect MG adventure tale.

    When it comes to movies, I’m also a huge fan of surreal atmospheres. I adored PAN’S LABYRINTH, for example. And BIG FISH. For TV shows, anything with a solid mystery and/or ridiculously animated characters (eg: LOST).

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      YES, it really is! In high school, my friends and I were OBSESSED with The Goonies–to the point where we called each other by the characters’ nicknames (I was Mikey) and had t-shirts made and…it was ridiculous.

      And PAN’S LABYRINTH…Oh, that movie. I love that movie so much. The music is to DIE for.

  7. Sooz Feb 21 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I haven’t see Marie Antoinette (EEK! I KNOW!), but I’ll add it to my list stat. Now I just have to get a TV…

    • Erin Bowman
      Erin Bowman Feb 21 2012 at 10:05 am #

      I haven’t seen MARIE yet either! Must get on this…

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      I honestly was like “WTF IS THIS MOVIE?” when I first saw Marie Antoinette, and then I just…wound up watching it again and again, to the point where I’d put it on the tv just to have something beautiful to look at while I was doing other things.

  8. Gwen Cole Feb 21 2012 at 10:20 am #

    I’m not really good at writing humor, but whenever I watch Raising Hope, it’s always easier to come up with some witty dialogue. XD

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Isn’t it funny/awesome how watching that kinda stuff can immediately help our writing? (Also: I’ve heard really good things about Raising Hope…I’ll have to check it out!)

  9. Marc Vun Kannon Feb 21 2012 at 11:15 am #

    In my current novel I’m writing a scene between a detective and a medium based on the characters played by Samuel Jackson and Brian Cox in The Long Kiss Goodnight, a fun little action/adventure romp with Geena Davis as an amnesiac spy who recovers her memory after 8 years as a mother on the PTA. Quite a lot of fun, lesser characters drawn in broad strokes. The dialog just flows.

  10. Vivien Feb 21 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I absolutely love Fringe. Tons of inspiration there!! I mean…parallel universes….yea…loads of stuff to go from. Since I’m named after Vivien Leigh who plays Scarlent O’Hara, I guess that means my mom got inspiration from Gone with the Wind 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      FRINGE. OMG. (I wanted to include it in this post, but I figured it was too sci-fi/fantasy-ish for me to get away with) Did you see this past week’s episode? I was DYINGGG. Peter! Olivia!!! Aghaishgiahsgag. Suchhh a great show. I especially love how the romance is handled.

      And dude, you were named for Vivien Leigh? HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!!

  11. katherine S Feb 21 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I love all those picks but I have to say Jaws, Revenge and Rome are amazing. I’ve also been watching Alcatraz and Hart of Dixie. The Goonies is my all time favorite. Fringe was so good last week. I get my inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. Its great when authors talk about where there inspiration comes from…that’s inspiring.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 12:53 pm #

      HART OF DIXIE!!! YES!!! Omg, I thought I was the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD who watches that show!!!! I <3 it so much!!!!!!

      And Fringe...HOW GOOD WAS IT LAST WEEK? I was SQUEALING the whole time. And that episode ending!!! Aghhh.

  12. Angelica Feb 21 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Gone with the Wind is a superb movie. I also like to draw inspiration from Lord of the Rings and Star Wars because they have such epic story arcs. I also enjoy watching episodes of Stargate SG1 for the characterization and Firefly for it’s shear awesomeness. If I’m in a mystery writing mood then I’ll go to Castle. It’s another Nathan Fillion classic. In terms of music I love the OST’s from Apollo 13, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, 10,000BC, King Arthur and of course all Disney movies. ^_^

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Hehe, STAR WARS and LOTR are totally my go-to epics, too!!!!

      And omg! The King Arthur soundtrack! I LOVE that soundtrack!! I thought I was the only one who’d ever listened to it!!! <3 <3

  13. Samantha Wekstein Feb 21 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I have to say that I don’t think I have a particular writing genre. I do have some shows that inspire me though! First off, Avatar the Last Air Bender has one of the best endings of any show of all time (I’m pretty sure I watched this as per your recommendation a really long time ago). I do love Fringe–so psyched for Peter/Olivia again! HIMYM of course and Community are both hilarious (though my special favorite is Boy Meets World). Recently, I’ve really been digging Once Upon a Time (but only the fairytale world parts). And perhaps one of my favorite shows of all time for snappy dialogue and comedy is Gilmore Girls.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Um, the last episode of Avatar BROKE ME. I should do a post with all my favorite fantasy/sci-fi tv shows/movies, because Avatar would probably be at the TOP of that list. Agh. The agni kai between Azula and Zuko just…kills me.

      AND GILMORE GIRLS!!! Yessss. So great for studying dialogue and character chemistry!

  14. Leigh Bardugo
    Leigh Bardugo Feb 21 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Love this. Great advice and wonderful recs. Also, THIRTEEEEEEEEN!!!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      Thanks, Leighhhhh!!!! <3 <3

      And when Vorenus yells "Thirteen!!!" ...Omg, Leigh, I DIED. Like, hysterical sobbing. I still get emotional talking about it. One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE tv moments.

  15. Tracy Robertson Feb 21 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    I would say the way they do some of the characters and jokes on The Big Bang Theory inspires me for character building because it is so funny. Comedy is not my writing genre, but there isn’t wrong with a serious story having a few super smart but wildly funny characters!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 7:28 pm #

      I only started watching The Big Bang Theory this year, but OMG, I love it so much. It’s GREAT for character building and comedic timing…I don’t write much comedy/funny stuff, but the snappy dialogue in BBT always inspires me. <3

  16. Jessica T. Feb 21 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Ah, Marie Antoinette is just so, so pretty! And definitely inspiring! Love Veronica Mars and Downton Abbey, too! Other shows that inspire me are 30 Rock and Mad Men. Oh, I also really like the movie Stranger Than Fiction, which is kinda underrated but really brilliant, in my opinion–and it’s about writing!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 21 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      You know, I’ve only seen ONE episode of Mad Men, and while it was GREAT, I never got the chance to watch more of it…For shame, I know!!!

      AND I LOVE STRANGER THAN FICTION!!!! You’re so right–it’s totally underrated, and really brilliant!!!! 😀

  17. Susan Feb 21 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Awesome post! I love seeing what inspires people – plus get ideas for more amazing movies and tv shows to watch (or procrastinate with…)

    I was SO happy to see you include Attack the Block! I’ve been telling basically everyone I know that they need to watch that. It was beyond incredible. Plus Veronica Mars – I’ve actually been doing a rewatch of that recently, and realized last night that Schmidt from New Girl (if you watch that) was the absolutely darling Deputy Leo D’Amato! Basically, that made my night.

    Some movies that inspire me: The Fall – one of the most gorgeous films ever, hands down. Every time I watch it I’m blown away by the cinematography. It’s said that it was filmed in something like over 20 different countries, and it clearly benefited from using all those different landscapes and types of natural beauty. Plus, no matter how many times I watch it, I’m always bawling for about the last half hour of the movie, unsure of how it will end despite already knowing. A movie I only recently saw was Warrior, and it was even better than I’d expected. Definitely more male-centered than I usually watch, as it’s all about the relationship of two adult brothers and their father, and it reminded me of precisely why I don’t like watching MMA (at ALL), but when I’m so caught up in the story that I’m literally trying to cry out to the characters, despite them being fictional and on a screen, it’s good. Simultaneously predictable and unpredictable, but the slow unraveling of just what happened to the family is wonderful. Lastly, The Iron Giant. Yes, technically a kid’s movie, but it’s simply beautiful. It’s full of childhood wonder and fearlessness and definitely makes you nostalgic for an era that you probably never actually lived in, but it reminds me of all my childhood dreams and creativity, and tends to send my imagination into hyper-drive.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      Wasn’t Attack The Block just AMAZING? I’ve been recommending it left and right. Agh, I love that movie SO MUCH.

      AND YES!!! Every time I watch New Girl, I always think of the days when Schmidt was on Veronica Mars!!!! He was such a hunky-hunk on VM–it’s so strange (and awesome) to see him playing a completely different (and hilarious) character!!!

      And The Fall…I’ve never seen that, but the trailer for it gives me chills–the cinematography looked mind-blowingly spectacular!!!

      AND WARRIOR!!! Omg, my hubby made me watch that last weekend and I was SHOCKED by how much I loved it. Though I have the BIGGEST crush on Tom Hardy. Agh. He’s yummy.

      …And The Iron Giant. I watched it once and i will NEVER watch it again because it BROKE ME INTO A MILLION PIECES. I seriously WEPT (my hubby, who rarely cries, was also a wreck). Suchhh a great movie.

      (Um, clearly, we are TV/movie twins.)

  18. Zoe Gasparotti Feb 21 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Awesome, awesome post!

    I’m definitely adding Marie Antoinette on my to-watch list now. And I thoroughly love that How I Met Your Mother is on your list. I don’t use it so much as for inspiration, but definitely something unwind to. Although one of the episodes in the first season (I think it’s the one called Drumroll, Please) totally got some creative juices flowing the first time I saw it.

    I love period pieces for finding inspiration, my favorite that I’m thinking of right this second is Ever After. I could watch that movie on loop until I die and I’d still love it!

    Also, even though it isn’t really a period piece and still kinda falls into my genre, I’m infatuated with the new show Once Upon a Time. It’s filled to the brim with imagination and creativity, plus the costumes in the storybook world are simply gorgeous. I totally get lost in the storyline ever time I watch it.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      Yes! HIMYM is one of those shows that is just GREAT to unwind to…I’m always surprised by how easily they can get me to go from laughter to tears. And the sad bits never feel overblown–they’re always so beautifully done. Agh, I love that show.

      • Zoe Feb 23 2012 at 12:28 pm #

        I completely agree! I think my favorite moment of that is the last episode of the first season- where Ted finally gets a ‘yes’ from Robin only to come back to the apartment to see Marshall sitting on the front steps. Gah!!

  19. Katelyn Larson Feb 22 2012 at 2:50 am #

    Veronica Mar’s is sheer awesomeness. I love that show to bits and pieces. My friends in college got me into it. We’d marathon like five episodes every Friday. It was fantastic. And oh my god do I love Logan. The romance in that show is fantastic.

    I actually get a lot of inspiration from anime, though many of those wouldn’t technically be out of my genre I guess. I love Yu Yu Hakusho, which is a rather old anime. The character development is incredible and definitely drives the show. I will never stop loving those characters. 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      LOGAN. LOGAN. LOGAN. Ahgiahsighsghaisghags Oh, I love him so much.

      And anime!!! I used to watch SO MUCH anime in high school…though I don’t watch it all that often now, I still adore it. Revolutionary Girl Utena was one of my all-time favorites…as was Escaflowne. And Sailor Moon. Oh, Sailor Moon was my LIFE for several years….

  20. Jenelle R. Feb 22 2012 at 4:14 am #

    Oooh- I’m currently watching the Revenge right now, and loving it! 😀 My only complain is that Emily doesn’t really have facial expressions… But yeah, as for your question, does Friends count? Like that old comedy show? 🙂 That’s not really my genre, but that show always made me laugh!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      HAHA! I totally did NOT realize that until now!! You are SO right–Emily’s face never moves!!!!

      And lol, Friends definitely counts!!!!

  21. Judit_K Feb 22 2012 at 5:45 am #

    I don’t get my inspiration from series I guess… Some characters gave me ideas, but not an entire serie!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      Oh, interesting!!! How cool that characters inspire you–not the entire show! (I’m so fascinated by how people are inspired!)

  22. Kalina Feb 22 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Maybe True blood 😛

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      Hehe, I would have listed True Blood, but I think it skews a little too fantasy to qualify for my non-fantasy/sci-fi list. 🙂

  23. Liz Feb 22 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    I stalk a band for my inspiration.

    No, seriously. But it’s not as creepy as it sounds. I just have a favorite band that’s not well known so after shows the fans are able to talk to them, which I do every time they come around. And I just happen to be writing YA where two characters run away from home to follow a band around. So every time I see a show with these guys and hang out with them my inspiration explodes. It’s a good way to fight off the post-show blues.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      I think that sounds AWESOME!! Definitely not creepy! What band is it?! (Can you say?)

      Seriously, that is so cool.

      • Liz Feb 22 2012 at 1:35 pm #

        Tommy and the High Pilots. The best part is that they always remember me 🙂

  24. Krispy Feb 22 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Oh, I LOVED Rome and finally bought it on Blu-Ray recently! I actually love watching crime dramas, which is totally not what I write, but I think they’re good for plotting (and general entertainment).

    Movie-wise, I do love the fantasy stuff, but I also love the not-quite fantasies: Midnight in Paris, Pan’s Labyrinth, Big Fish, Moulin Rouge. Give me whimsy and spectacle! 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      YES TO ALL THOSE FILMS. YESSSSS. They’re all so brilliant and lovely and moving.

      Midnight in Paris was probably my favorite film of 2011. 😀

  25. Rika Ashton Feb 22 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Haha! THE GOONIES. YES!!!

    And MARIE ANTOINETTE was just fabulous…all those pretty clothes and her shoes! o.O

    I spend way to much time watching T.V, but I think the only show I watch that can be considered outside my genre is WHITE COLLAR. (The others MERLIN, SUPERNATURAL, VAMPIRE DIARIES and ONCE UPON A TIME are all fantasies, and MERLIN is both historical and fantastical so it double genre love for me, lol!)

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 22 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      I’ve heard SUCH great things about WHITE COLLAR!!! Agh…though the LAST thing I need right now is to get sucked into another tv series and wind up marathoning it for a week, lol.

      And VAMPIRE DIARIES! Ohhhh, that is one of the BEST-written shows on TV. I adore it SO much. I seriously get SO EXCITED every Thursday and wind up counting down the hours until it’s on!!!!

  26. Teresa Feb 22 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I love watching “kid” type of movies because they remind me that my imagination is something to be cherished. I get squished a lot by “adult” life, but at heart I’m still a kid, and my imagination and my writing take me to different worlds altogether. So I revisit my old Disney favorites, and then I have my standbys of The Sandlot and Stand By Me. I pay more attention to character development in TV shows because there is so much time that passes – I love seeing how the writers develop the characters!

    Loved this post!!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      THE SANDLOT! STAND BY ME! YESSSSS!!!! I seriously LOVE those movies so much…I should have put them on my list!!!!!!

      And thanks, Teresa!!!!

  27. Marina Feb 22 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Did no one say Doctor Who?!! Or Castle? SHERLOCK!!! Both of those shows are amazingly written. Castle especially, since it’s about a writer! Also what Steven Moffat and Gatiss do is beyond belief.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Hehehe, I think I put Castle on my list, but Doctor Who seemed a little too fantasy-ish for my “non-fantasy/sci-fi” list….But I frakking LOVE Doctor Who. So, so much. <3

  28. Hayley G Feb 22 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    I always find inspiration from the Roswell High book/T.V. series!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      Oooh, you know, I never watched Roswell….I should probably get around to that someday…

  29. elena Feb 23 2012 at 10:25 am #

    I find inspiration from Parks & Rec! I think Leslie Knope is such a great character, positive and enthusiastic!

  30. Isabel Feb 23 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Movies are great for inspiration on how the visual, tactile, etc. components should work, even more so than just picturing scenes in your head, I think! That said, even though they are animated, Miyazaki’s films are wonderful for capturing that sheer joy and magical aspect of storytelling, I think. Although I suppose that’s not really out of genre. Still!

    For truly out of genre movies, though…that’s harder! Fantasy/historical films would both count as in-genre, and that more or less makes up the movies that I watch as well (guilty of not spreading out more…). Perhaps The King’s Speech; it really brings home how utterly devastating just a small thing like a stutter can be, and how much courage it takes to rise above that and do what you (and your country, in this case) needs done.

    But enough babbling!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      Hehe, if I make a fantasy-sci-fi list, Miyazaki’s would have their own category, I think. I freaking ADORE his films. So, so much.

      AND THE KING’S SPEECH! How did I forget to have that on my list?! Ugh, that movie is SO GOOD. And so inspiring (both emotionally AND in terms of writing/character development!)

  31. Petra Feb 23 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I love music and love when a song inspires a scene in a book. Keep being inspired 🙂

  32. Syrie James Feb 23 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Hi Sarah! I’m also an author of YA Fantasy (my newest book is FORBIDDEN- http://www.syriejames.com), urban fantasy (NOCTURNE) and historical fiction (LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN, THE SECRET DIARIES OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE, and DRACULA, MY LOVE)– so it seems like just about every TV series and film is in some way within the scope of one of my genres! I am totally gaga about DOWNTOWN ABBEY (loved it & will so miss it!), FOYLE’S WAR, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, SENSE & SENSIBILITY, JANE EYRE (& every film version ever made of the Austen and Bronte novels,) LOVE ACTUALLY, MAN IN THE IRON MASK (Leonardo di Caprio version), THE PRINCESS BRIDE, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, THE NOTEBOOK, THE QUIET MAN, and basically just about anything British.

    But many of my other favorite films are comedies, which is outside my usual genre: TRADING PLACES, GROUNDHOG DAY, BACK TO THE FUTURE, CITY SLICKERS, A FISH CALLED WANDA, FERRIS BUELLER’S DAYS OFF, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… musicals like SOUND OF MUSIC, FUNNY GIRL… and don’t forget sci-fi: STAR WARS!!

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      Hey Syrie!! 🙂 🙂

      I totally went through this phase about 2 years ago where I watched EVERY adaptation of Austen’s books, and it was so, so glorious! Have you seen the new Jane Eyre? It was so, so lovely and dark and creepy and *sighhhh* Oh, so, so good.

      Also, I LOVE that A Fish Called Wanda is on your list!! Because I ADORE that film, and so few people have heard of it!!!!!

      (And if I were making a list of the sci-fi/fantasy films that inspire me, I think STAR WARS would be #1!)

      Thanks for the comment! <3

  33. Cindy W. Feb 23 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    The Dark Knight and Inception!! Wonderful inspiration for me. If not Underworld and Lord of the Rings 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:06 pm #

      YES. THE DARK KNIGHT (I’m actually more of a Batman Begins person) IS SO GOOD. (Also, I should totally make a list of the sci-fi/fantasy films that inspire me, because Underworld and LotR are totally at the top of that!!)

  34. Carrie A Feb 24 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    I can find inspiration anywhere! I surprisingly really liked the show Legend of the Seeker.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      You know, I never got around to watching Legend of the Seeker, but I’ve heard GREAT things about it!!! Someday, when writing isn’t gobbling up my life, I’m totally gonna watch it. 🙂

  35. kate c-l Feb 27 2012 at 10:04 am #

    i find sci fi shows and historical movies (north&south, p&p, downton abbey, etc) inspire me–sci fi inspires me to broaden the scope of my imagination, and historical, character-driven stories help me focus on really developing the human element and character interaction. both make me live in a world i *don’t* live in, and i think that is always a worthwhile exercise. 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      NORTH & SOUTH!!! Aghaisghiags. I should have added that to my list. Ohhh, it was so, so good. <3

  36. Sarah S Feb 27 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    I also am a big fan of Friday Night Lights, Revenge, and The Big Bang Theory! I’ve recently been getting into the TV show Smash, which I really like so far.

    • Sarah J. Maas
      Sarah J. Maas Feb 27 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      I really like Smash, too!!!! I’m actually surprised at how much I like it…

  37. Brandi O. Feb 27 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I wish I could say yes, but I’m not adventuresome when it comes to my movie genres. Maybe I should give it a try. I’m not a fan of comedy, maybe I’ll give it a try and it will get me out of my slump.

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