Monday, December 15, 2008

What inspires you?

What kinds of things inspire your stories? Movies? Books? Real Life? All of the above? Other? I'm going through what I call a tribute stage. I've got a sci-fi'd testament to 'Night of the Living Dead' half written, waiting for the zombie-muse to show back up and my current WIP is a twist on what some have called the first fully realized science fiction story ever. Care to take a guess? Ah, well, soon to appear at a writing crit site near you. My point is, I'm inspired by other works. Movies and books, mostly, although the occasional newspaper headline will send plot bunnies hopping through my brain. How about you?

13 comments:

Ink said...

I suppose I get inspired by all sorts of things. Sometimes books and films, sometimes things in real life. Often little things. My zombie story, A Darkness So White, was inspired by our joking around at FM's Roving Crits combined with an image I had in my head of someone looking out the front of my shop at a deserted street. Stick them together and suddenly there's a story. Sometimes simply reading something really good will make me want to write. Sometimes it will be an overheard bit of dialogue... and often it's just words. A word will strike me, I'll think of a sentence that uses it, sort of abstractly, I'll fiddle with it, often thinking in terms of what makes a good title (my wife and I often do that as a sort of game), and sometimes once I have that line or title it will expand out into a story. And sometimes technical challenges will inspire me. Like I'll think of a sort of trick with Omni and wonder how I could use it... Or I'll wonder about a super distant voice that's kind of flat, and wonder how it could be used effectively to tell a story. Or I might wonder how a scene would be described by the television (done that one :)). A story without dialogue? My last couple shorts have basically done that. So craft stuff inspires me too.

Wanu said...

For me, my thoughts tend to spin off on bizarre tangents. If one of my friends meets a girl in a bar, and I'm there as part of a bigger group, by the time they're onto their second drink I'll have planned out their whole future lives.

Any deviation from the norm will get me churning over possibilities. My mate's ex claiming to be a 'preparation fairy' spawned a whole novel!

The cat jumped on the keyboard - hey presto! Story about a cat!

I can force the issue, too. I've been complaining that my character handling needs work of late, but my muse is strangely silent when there's something I definitely want to play with. So, I had a go at the 'three little words' challenge on FM, and quite liked what came out, and today I finally decided to use plot generators in order to give me frameworks to practise character work on. Did the first one today and, again, am happy with the story that came out. I also think the drive is working, I'm using these artificial stimulants to creativity for really only one purpose, and that's definitely the thing that's being brought to the fore.

Otherwise... I have a mind to parody, so anyting that takes itself too seriously gets a bit of a silly makeover from me. Then there's the 'having something to say' thing - I want to present, say, selfishness in all its different aspects, so I weave it into a story, or to present child abuse, or to present cultural transmission. The latter, actually, is mostly taken from interesting conversations with my brother - an evolutionary biologist. Fascinating area, but one which is little discussed outside academia. Has real ramifications for all of us, though, so I'm going to put it into a story.

I dunno, I get lots of ideas from all sorts of things - even a flashing lighter once!

They're not necessarily good ideas, or things that would lend themselves well to stories, but the ones that are, then yes, I've got a new project. Luckily, there aren't a huge number of those.

Wanu said...

Wow! Talk about simultaneous submission! It's the 7:48 possy!

Ink said...

Well, you know, all the cool people write at 7:48pm. Of course, it wasn't actually 7:48pm for both of us, unless you were hiding in my backyard...


And I see Book still hasn't given me a clue about the identity of his brother... mysterious. I'm going to back and read every post from Roving Crits for the last two years. (Well, I'm not, actually, but I was hoping to lure out a gleaming clue with that suggestion...)

Bookworm1605 said...

Ah, well everyone enjoys a mystery. Actually, unlike myself, my brother is quite shy. He would probably cringe at the scrutiny and so I'd probably catch it if he found out. But I got nobody to blame but myself, making cryptic remarks and all. If it's clues you want—clues you shall have.
Unlike you two entrepreneurs, he's a regular 9 to 5 working stiff, kinda like his big brother, so he's been fairly inactive recently. I do think he put a short up within the last six months, so there's no need to go back two years, Ink. His writing is nothing like my own, so searching for Weird Menace won't get you anywhere.
Actually, I can't think of anything that's not a dead giveaway at this point. Sorry. Tell you what, though. I've made it easy for you. If after combing through Roving's archives you still can't figure it out, just come back to this post and you should be able to find his identity here.

Ink said...

It's not old Balt, is it? November Papa lives in the South... Damn. I'm more stumped than a rainforest after the logging company's been through. It's like a loose tooth that just won't come out...

Bookworm1605 said...

Nope and nope. I guess it'd be easy to just tell you his name. But that wouldn't be any fun. Actually, I did tell you his name, you just missed it. Oh, and I checked, he posted in the last four months--not six.

Ink said...

Ha! I can't believe I missed that the first time. I read your first post too quickly, and when I read this one I went "Duh!" It's funny, I almost guessed him because of the Banjos...

Bookworm1605 said...

Oh well, the secret's out. That's OK I guess. I didn't know Wanu was fond of hiding in your backyard to make his blog posts until very recently.

Ink said...

I'm looking very suspiciously at the barn out back, wondering if I can see a light from a laptop... If Wanu posts and there's lots of typos, it's because there's a blizzard going on here, and I'm guessing it's hard to type with frostbitten fingers.

As for brothers in writerly arms, well, the secret is safe with me. It's weird, though, I always thought it was Gollum who played riddle games, and not Vader... must be getting my stories mixed up.

Wanu said...

Ha! I got it! I've been reading and reading Book's post, thinking, 'Huh? Who is it?', but I tried it the other way, checking the posts, and I got it too! lol! Oh, the lure of a good mystery.

Ink said...

He really had us workin' 9 to 5 on that one...

Wanu said...

Nobody woulda guessed.