Tuesday, November 20, 2012


      Subject matter of this post may be a bit on the squicky side for people and may contain a bit of TMI. Consider yourself warned.

     Recently, I've been looking at a lot of calls for horror short stories. Many are focused on a certain sub-genre or theme for the anthology. Not a bad thing, but occasionally I come across one that is a bit too specific and deals with subject matters that I'm not entirely comfortable writing about. The most recent one was one that wanted zombie erotica. For one thing, I think that zombies are way over down lately. Same with vampires and werewolves. Two, not totally comfortable putting my name on erotica. Put them together and I'm not keen to dwell on it, so I moved on to other calls. What does this have to do with inspiration? Let me tell ya.

     On the way home Saturday night I saw a car with an unusual phrase on the back window. Normally I see the fish plaques or the stickers showing the family which I normally ignore. When I looked at this, it took me a moment to process what I was reading, then my brain went into overdrive. The car's owners had put the phrase “Truckstop Darlin'” on the driver side of the back window. That brought up a few ideas that danced around in my head and lodged there for fun. The other part to this is that my friends were in town for Bizzaro Con, which is a shock horror writer's gathering. We had been discussing subject matter related to the hosts of the con earlier in the evening. Putting this all together, got me thinking of the zombie erotica call and before I could stop, the idea of zombie hookers at a truckstop lodged firmly in my mind. Pimp optional. Will I write this story? No. Might it show up somewhere down the road in another story? Probably, it's too good of an idea to just toss aside. Will the phrase “Truckstop Darlin” show up in a future story? Oh yes. A quick Google for Truckstop Darlin, shows it's a country and western band, so take that as you will. The few people that I've told about it, all give the same answer as to the first thing that comes to mind.

     This illustrates, in a rather twisted way, how inspiration works for me. It can hit at any time, for any reason, and any number of prompts which may have nothing to do with you current project. I carry around a notebook when I'm out, just for this reason. If an idea or thought strikes me, down it goes into the book for later review. Many of my ideas come from reading the news, seeing oddball or unusual things [such as that phrase on the back window], movies, books, and talking with my friends and peers. I asked one of my writing friends how they came up with some of their subjects. Now I get that. Now I understand. The creative process is free form. Sure you can sit and think to come up with the subject. Other times, you should let your mind drift and take inspiration from the world around you.

     On the subject of movies, I picked up The Avengers on DVD and watched it a couple of times. Still amazed and impressed in the writing, acting, and directing. Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo both steal the show with Chris Evans coming in a solid third. That's not to say the other actors weren't good, but those cast members hit all the notes and hit them hard. Ruffalo needed more screen time as Banner and the next Hulk move needs him as the lead. I've been watching a lot of superheroes movies this month to keep the fires of inspiration going for NaNoWriMo. One of the inspirational ideas that came out of my watching the movies it adapting the story and characters to a different genre, such as fantasy. Captain America become a Warrior or perhaps a Paladin of Justice, Iron Man is a Wizard, Black Widow gets the Rogue slot, while Hawkeye takes Ranger. Hulk could be imaged as an Alchemist under a magical curse that turns him into a rage monster, while Thor is a Divine Champion; one of the aspects of his god. File off the serial numbers and you have an adventuring party ready to go with the tension and bonds built in. Not original, but it's the thought process that interests me as the moment. How can I retell this story and give it a new perspective? What can I take from this and how can I apply it to writing? Or it just motivates me to write a better story and work to get people to care about the characters and see what happens next.

Addendum: As it happens, this came along from the local NaNoPDX group - http://theoatmeal.com/comics/making_things.

No comments:

Post a Comment