Earlier this week I was asked what inspired my writing. Since then I’ve been thinking about that question. What inspires me was originally supposed to be a big part of what I was writing about in this blog, so I guess it is a good time to address that question again.
The short answer is life; everything. I take in everything and slice a little from this and a little from that and put in a blender and make something else entirely. Sometimes it is from what is going on in life and my emotions, and sometimes it is from other literature or music. Whatever I take though, ultimately becomes something else entirely.
When thinking about what inspires me and how it shows up in my writing, a particular scene from my NEXT e-book about vampires, Desolute Incubus, comes to mind. I wrote the scene years ago when living in Orlando. One of my neighbors really made me mad. The one thing that infuriates me above all else is when someone is being irrational and shuts their minds off to any other possibility than the one they have created. So, this neighbor got it in her head that my family wronged her daughter in some way, and her response was to yell and scream at my daughter and then at me. She would not even give me a chance to explain or talk about the perceived slight, which of course enraged me. I wanted to kill her. In real life I ignored her and we eventually moved, but in my writing I ripped her throat out (yeah, vampires!) It made a great a scene.
Another example of where I get a lot of my material is from other literature. The example that comes to mind is one of my more recent favorite series by Kim Harrison. In her “Hallows” series, her main character kicks ass. I really like that, and in thinking about my own writing, I don’t really have a lot of characters like that. But, when I create one, that character will be like Harrison’s character, but completely different.
Here’s what I mean. I love Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. The symbiotic relationship between the riders and the dragon fascinate me. So, I wanted to make a character like that, but completely different. So, I held on to that thought for a while. A long while. Then, years later, I had another inspiration. I read C.S. Freidman’s Feast of Souls. This series has an ancient monster, the stuff of legends, that suddenly returns to cause much world-shattering trouble. I liked that idea. It was a bit like the boogey man, stories you scare the kids with. Be good or the boogey man will get you. But, then the boogey man steps out of the closet and starts eating people. Hmm… I added that to my blender. I wasn’t finished though. The other inspiration came from music. Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks have a song called Rhiannon. The lyrics and the feel of the music added to this development as well. This is the story of a nasty creature, the stuff of nightmares, that swoops down on an unsuspecting boy and both their lives are changed. The character has a symbiotic relationship with a nasty creature that is vicious and makes dragons look like kittens. The sentient creatures that share the relationship are just as dark as their partners. They have a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and they share the kill of their partners to feed. They are black legend come to life. So, add a little of that ass-kicking quality and I have something altogether new; the Wynath. This story is still under development, but I hope to put it out within the next year.
So, the long answer then is that it doesn’t really matter where the inspiration comes from; it comes from everywhere. The more important question is what I do with it and what comes out of my metaphoric blender.