My books contain elements of mystery, suspense, romance and a touch of the paranormal. And I find what sparks an interest in any one of these - or all of them - are movies and music.
Last weekend, I stumbled upon the movie Out of Time with Denzel Washington and Eva Mendez. It is one of my favorite suspense movies. Not only does it have superb actors, but the suspense ratchets up to the point where it is almost unbearable. This movie taught me two elements in suspense: the shorter the timeframe, the higher the suspense; and the reader (or viewer) must feel as if something is going to happen in each and every scene. In Out of Time, it was the possibility that Denzel Washington's character would be caught - and his career and his life as he knew it would be over. Below is the movie trailer to give you an idea of how the suspense builds.
If I am having difficulty focusing on a particular element such as suspense or romance, I will find movies that depict that element in a superb manner. Not only will I watch the movie but I will dissect it, scene by scene. By the time I'm finished, I know exactly how to construct my upcoming scenes and how to describe them so the readers feel like they are there - even when my plots, scenes and characters are entirely different from what I am watching.
Music can do the same thing, but because most songs average three or four minutes, it takes many of them strung together (or repeated) for me to begin visualizing the scenes they portray. Music has been particularly helpful to me in writing the romantic parts of the story, as so many songs revolve around meeting someone, loving someone, or breaking up.
What motivates you?