Inspiration: Where Do Stories Come From?

Stories. Where do they come from? What is that one spark that makes you traverse the long, windy road that is a completed story, whether it’s a poem, flash fiction, short fiction, or series of novels? That idea has to come from somewhere, right? It’s a question that authors get all the time during interviews and to be completely honest, that one “aha” moment can come from anything, anywhere, anytime.

Sometimes it’s a location that jogs the creativity. Or that couple walking down the street hand-in-hand. Sometimes it’s as simple as a sense-memory from your childhood or a dream or another book. Sometimes you have a really great one-liner that you just can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes—like in the case for Suzanne Collins—it came come from simply flipping through TV channels. Sometimes—like in the case for J.K. Rowling—a fully fleshed character walks into your mind like they’ve been there for years.

So, really, that spark of inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, anytime, and that’s the excitement of being a writer. You never know when an idea will smack you across the face and demand you pay attention. It can be the littlest of things that makes your creativity churn.

Case in point, here’s where the spark for the entire Cicatrix Duology came from. I had a short story due for my undergraduate writing club and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what to write about. Completely stumped. Then, these three simple lines popped into my head:

“We have come to collect you, Mia.” Her left hand twitched. “We have come.”

That’s it. Not the scifi aspect. Not the plotline. Not even Mia herself. Just those three little lines. But those were enough to spiral my creativity into overdrive and start asking questions. Who wanted her? What’s with her left hand? How long had she been running? Why was she running? After that, the scifi aspect clicked into place, then the scar, then the character, then…well…everything else.

So here’s a little tip: Pay Attention. Write those things down. Even if you can’t get to the idea right now, put it in a ToWrite folder and save it for later. You never know when you’ll want to come back to it.

If you’d like to read the Cicatrix Duology, you can get Finding Hekate here and the (newly published!!) Losing Hold here.

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Lines in the Sand

Last night I was eating a frozen strawberry Popsicle and a thought skittered through my mind. How in the known world did we get so biased?

It’s amazing how much bias there is in the world today, how much snob, how many questions there are concerning what is good and what is bad, what should be knocked down or revered. Even in the writing world there is tension between genres, between Literature and literature, between the simple hobbyist and world-renown author. It’s an interesting world we must sift through, but may I suggest we do not sift through it at all, rather plunge through unhindered by judgment, by biased opinions, by these distinctions of “high” and “low” writing.

Who says the writer who pens fanfiction is somehow less important than the author with published works attached to his name? Who determined that the writers who pen erotica and romance novels are somehow less Literary then the ones who write fiction?

They are, after all, merely distinctions. Someone, somewhere, decided to gouge a line in the sand concerning Literature and ‘everything else’ and somehow, someway, we let him. It’s silly once you think about it. A fanfiction author does not write works any less than a Literature author, and the works of romance are not somehow smaller than the works of non-fiction.

It is all one thing. Every person who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, whether it is poetry, erotica, sci-fi, Literature, memoirs, journals or articles, does the same thing: writes. These people take time out of their busy schedules, ignoring the pulls of society, family and friends, and sit down (or stand, if you have one of those handy treadmill desks) and write.

And yet somehow, in our society, we deem Romance novelist as ‘less’ than Literature. We suggest that fanfic is not as extraordinary as ‘the real thing.’ We are biased. Might I suggest that we are also – almost – too biased? Writers write, and we should support everyone who does, regardless of age, gender, genre, or style. It’s all the same process, all the same hours, all the same dedication, and, in my humble opinion, all writing deserves some sort of clap on the back.

This is not to suggest that every work that was ever written is actually good – far from it actually (Fifty Shades, anyone?) but every writer should get something for their efforts. A smile, if anything, a note from a fan perhaps, even a simple ‘you did it’ will do. I might not think Fifty Shades is good, but I applaud E.L. James for having the dedication to pen the series.

So before you dismiss the erotica writers as lower than average, before you scoff at the sci-fi authors as writing ‘genre’, before you laugh at any form of writing and say ‘I can do that,’ remember this: you did not spend hours working on this one piece, you did not agonize over the characters, re-format the prose, and decide to center the poetry, someone else did. And that deserves at least a little credit.

Am I on the right track here – what do you think about the biased notions surrounding certain writers?

Warm regards,
Kellie