Okay, so I was looking for good quotes and who else would you naturally go to? Well, I thought of Stephen King. I love this quote. It gave me a lot to think about. I realize that he is probably (and I am speculating here) saying that he wants you to fall for the seeming innocence of his character before he lets lose their crazy insides, and the reality of who they are, but I had some other thoughts that were inspired by this quote as well.
First, what I thought about was creating characters. When doing this, you want to infuse them with characteristics that make them someone your reader can relate to, or visualize. If you cannot see him/her in your own mind how can anyone else? If you cannot see them yourself they probably won't work in your story. However, you might just need to rethink them, not necessarily throw them out all together. If you are having trouble creating a character, try to think of someone you have met and what it is about them that you remember, whether good or bad. This might help you decide what to instill in your character, unless you have a purpose in their being forgotten. Such as in a mystery where you might want an unassuming character to play a bigger part in the reveal. It might be an interesting thought to have that character give you an "Oh crap" moment, or you might provide your reader with a, "I suspected there was something off about them, but I did not expect that" moment of realization. To me that is fun. You should have fun with your characters. I love it when I find myself laughing out loud because of something a character did, or said. I also love it when I am surprised by a characters willingness to do something I might personally never be capable of. Those moments are brilliant. Let your characters be surprising, unique, quirky, odd, creepy, inspiring, humorous, twisted, whatever you like. You can, but might not go wrong. Have purpose in your design.
For me, when I write, I can see each character in my head as if I am watching the scenes, like a movie. However, I never know where the story is going to go until I get there. I can see moment to moment, but I simply do not know where the story will end. For me the journey is just as new as it is to my reader.
I know immediately if a story line will not work though, because I sort of stop on the path. My thought process is halted. I cannot make it work, but instead of forcing it, which might be the inclination, I try to rethink it or discuss it with my family (my husband for example). Try the scene from a different point of view. Not everything is a dead throw out, at least not always.
In the quote above, when Mr. King says, "turn the monsters loose", I get chills. Let your character tell you where they want to go, what they want to do, where their personalities will take them, and what choices they would make when given the freedom. I love that. If you create a character that is believable they will be your guide. Open yourself up to the possibilities. You can usually figure out logically where someone's thought processes and quirks, limitations, and mannerisms will take them. Think about what you know. As writers we tend to be a bit more observant than most. We are people watchers. We see what some others might miss. Think about it. How else could you write a story? Writing is all about creating, and showing. It is all about guiding, and following, revealing and solving. We set the stage for everything that will happen and where it will take place.
"Let the monsters loose," is just awesome. It seems that Mr. King does just that. He lets the character tell him where the next moment of madness will go. He lets the character dictate his inspiration. If you have a madman stalking the streets, you know he is not going to be walking right down the center of the path in broad daylight. He might slink in the shadows, watch with an air of malice, creep and not stroll. This is what I mean. Now, I cannot speak and would not presume to speak for Mr. King, but I think that he likes to let the characteristics of the character decide their behavior, whatever that ends up meaning.
Let your monster's loose, and see where they take you. If you are not sure about any of these ideas, do as every author I have listened too (in lectures, interviews, etc... even Stephen King) and read. Read all you can in the genre in which you want to write in. Read everything. Observe people around you too. List what you remember about people you have met, or know and why you remember them. Compile a list of mannerisms and behaviors that your character might have based on their personality. Just think about it and let it come. Don't force it, but take your time. You cannot make a great story happen. You have to consider those details that can make the story more believable. Let your characters be your guide and maybe even ask... what would I do in that situation? It might just inspire you.
Remember, read as much as you can. You will find inspiration everywhere. Writing in a rush is a temptation, but you will do better if you take your time, consider your characters and what they would do in the situations you put them in. You might have to think outside of the box.
One last thought. Gaining inspiration from the work of others is always going to happen, but instead of copying (which would be wrong) think about what it is that inspired you in the first place and find a new way of putting it. Writers cannot help but pull from all aspects of their lives, things we see, hear, smell, and experiences, but we can make it our own. Find your own voice. Find your own way of putting it. Find that thing that makes your point of view unique. What makes you who you are? What have you experienced and what did you take from it. Use what you know and what you are comfortable with. For instance, I have dealt with loss and death personally and up close and the pain that comes with it. When I wrote the death of a character, I found that that particular segment was very raw and real. It played out very dramatically, because I was able to pull from my experiences. Lastly, when in doubt, brain storm with someone whose opinion you respect and value. It might yield some wonderful results. Whatever else you do, change it, shift it, play with it, but don't give up. You can do this.
Good luck my friends.