Welcome! I’m turning my blog over to C. S. Boyack, who is touring with his new speculative fiction/horror novel, THE PLAYGROUND, which releases today. Craig put together a great post about novel inspiration and ideas, which already had me dreaming up storylines as I read through it. Some of the feeds Craig talks about below, he shares on his blog Entertaining Stories in the form of “idea mill” posts. If you’re not currently following Craig’s blog, it’s a fun place to hang out and ruminate on a writer’s life.
Take it away, Craig…
Writers are often asked where they get their ideas from. I think it’s different for every author, but in my case it could be literally anywhere.
I had an old family story that I’d forgotten about years ago. When I heard a creepy song on Pandora, the old story came back to me and I morphed it into a short story that I’m pretty happy with. I may wind up publishing it in a book of short stories one day.
Sometimes it’s a line from a book, or a visual from a film of some kind. A casual reference overheard at a restaurant might be the key to a character that works in my story.
I’ve been watching television and gotten angry because something doesn’t work the way it’s portrayed. “It actually works this way,” has led to scenes that wind up in my stories. Think about the double barreled shotgun that breaks in the middle, the television insists upon making the wracking sound of a pump action shotgun even though it doesn’t work that way.
I wrote one of my novels because I watched a movie with my grandkids. The Disney film Brave has a will o’ the wisp in it. My imagination was sparked, and I wrote Will O’ the Wisp because of an afternoon with the grandkids.
One thing a speculative author should always keep in mind is the question, “What if?” I don’t always have a soapbox hidden inside my stories, but on occasion it happens. This usually involves looking at a situation that exists today and pushing it to a prediction of some kind.
This one is fun to experiment with, ask yourself, “What if…”:
- The human population exceeds the ability of the Earth to grow enough food.
- Those refugees aren’t the problem, but a virus one of them carries is.
- Global warming thaws something evil from the ice pack.
- A piece of yeast or a bacteria was on the Mars rover.
I’m sure you can come up with your own, but it’s a fun game to play.
I have great faith in my Muse, Lorelei. I also believe in treating her right. I do this by subscribing to various push feeds online. I get news about topics of interest pushed to me without hours of endless searching. When one of them has merit, I make a note in one of my living documents. Some of those ideas led to stories, or even elements that enhanced a story.
Sometimes it’s a conglomeration of all of this. Maybe I get an archeological post about discovery of European graves where a stake was pounded through the skeleton. I play a little “what if” about pulling the stake out. Maybe I add a setting I was impressed with from a movie. Maybe a conversation, or song lyric, inspires a character that would be perfect for this story. A story is born.
I don’t believe in waiting around for inspiration. My push feeds send me data that might work in a story. My living documents serve as reminders, and I keep them up to date.
What works for you? Where do you find inspiration?
The hottest toys of the Christmas Season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except, the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.
To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?
Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.
There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.
The Playground is suitable for more mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.
Meet the man who dreamed up the story:
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.
I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.
I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.
~ Craig ~
Purchase your copy of THE PLAYGROUND from Amazon