View Full Version : Inspiration

08-22-2007, 10:59 PM
Ideas for stories can come from many different and sometimes unlikely places. So I thought this would be a good opportunity for writers to share where their current WIP idea came from. (Or past stories too.)

A song?
A character in a movie?
From a discussion?
A dream?

(Or are you one of those creative geniuses who just conjures your ideas from thin air without any inspiration at all?)

As for me, my current WIP idea is a combination of two books and a movie.
Potter - (but only a little bit)
Star Wars - (When Anakin goes bad) (Hopefully my character has better dialogue)


08-22-2007, 11:07 PM
I like this question...and I wish I could answer...hm

I have no idea where the idea for my current WIP came from. I remember when I came up with it, too. It just popped into my head, almost.

I don't think I ever get my inspiration from somewhere. Ideas just pop into my head and I run with them. After that I adapt things, I suppose, but I don't think it's ever enough for anyone to notice...

08-22-2007, 11:09 PM
Eeh...I posted a general how-I-do-it in the other inspiration thread...but...

For LC, I had just finished Pratchett, so I knew I wanted to write something funny. Inevitably, I ended up with a manuscript that was similar to his stuff, but since then it's taken a turn for the more Sopha-esque. For this WIP, the phrase that started it all was, 'The girl lay amongst the heather.' (Ack, grammar.) Then, there was 'The milk made her skirts wet.' Things took off from there.

Blue came out of an image in my head. A man, a blue cat, and a tree were walking down the road. After idle speculation about why Keefer's (a character in LC) son broke contact with his dad, I decided that being on the run from the law, accompanied by an antropormorphized cat and tree would be enough to shake the foundations of any relationship. The rest of the manuscript is/was completely spontaneous. Even I don't know what's going to happen next.

How I Died and Got Religion (Soul Threshers, in reality. I just like the dopey title.) Came out of the sentence I posted in the other inspiration thread, and a sentence I read in the 'Adopt a Starting Line' thread on the NaNoWriMo forums. The line was, "Honestly, I didn't believe in immortal souls until about 30 seconds after I sold mine." The first time I read it, though, I thought it said, "[Blah blah blah] after I died." For some reason, this triggered a slew of ideas, and ST became a story about an atheist who died and went to In Between/The World/Limbo, and fights against Threshers, or corrupted souls who should be in Hell, but manage to stay in Limbo by 'harvesting' souls that are more pure.

There are a bunch of other ideas, too. Usually, it's just a matter of collecting, processing, and connecting information until I get a story.

Shady Lane
08-22-2007, 11:09 PM
Oooh, Okay! I have some fun stories.

1st book: After by Francine Prose. I read that and said...woah. I've gotta try it.

2nd book: Brokeback Mountain. Yeah, this book wasn't very good.

The Sublime: The Far Side. They're eighties comics by Gary Larson, and one of them had these two guys on an island, and I was like, "Hmm, I wonder how they get along." And bam. Book. Teenage Wasteland by The Who totally helped.

Carnival: I felt like writing about a really depressed guy with really fantastic friends. It ended up being about a sort of depressed guy, with sort of fantastic friends.

Christmastime: I had this image of a guy breaking his arm and then hitting someone with the cast. It turned into a book about immaculate conception...but I did have a guy hitting someone with his cast. The song Together We'll Ring in the New Year by Motion City Soundtrack was huge.

Singleton: My brothers in Christmastime didn't like each other. So I wrote about some identical twins. Could I Be You by Matchbox 20 was way helpful.

And now Nimble: Got the idea listening to Spidersong by Say Anything, ("I'm growing legs...I'm the spider, I'm the spider" turned into boys who grow extra fingers and call themselves The Spiders.) Now, Bigger Than My Body by John Mayer and Currents by Dashboard Confessional are helping me through it.

So, I've had a few strikes of inspiration....but usually it's a calculated decision, I want to write this now. I get a small idea that turns into this big thing.

Momento Mori
08-22-2007, 11:34 PM
I got the idea for my WIP from a comment in an on-line discussion forum about another book. It made me think about the subject and how it had been handled by that author and I suddenly thought of a way to take it in a completely different direction.

Mostly, I get my ideas from books or films or television programmes - usually it's just a line of text or dialogue, which sets me to thinking, but I've also come up with ideas from seeing or hearing odd things during my commute into and out of work.


08-22-2007, 11:35 PM
The idea for my second ya novel about a high school baseball prospect who hits a line drive back at the pitcher and kills him a week before the pro draft came from music lyrics. Bonnie Raitt:

He's like a boxer who had to retire
After winning but killing a man.
He's got all of the moves
But none of the courage.
Afraid to throw a punch that might land.

What would it be like to be so good at something that you become dangerous?

The book title: None of the Courage

08-22-2007, 11:48 PM
(Or are you one of those creative geniuses who just conjures your ideas from thin air without any inspiration at all?)

Yup. :D

Just kidding. Most of my ideas come by thinking up characters to fit into existing works. I create a character in someone else's world, to give myself a structure to work around, and I then I create a world for them.

For my current WIP, I think I had just read some book that I thought would benefit from an insane person. This led to an image I had of a little crazy barefooted girl who came and grabbed my heroine and took her through a portal to another world. The crazy girl has actually been cut from the book/morphed into a new character.

My "backburner" WIP began...oh goodness, I don't remember. I think I'd been watching too many Trollope miniseries. I started created my own Victorian characters, and then one of them decided to go solve a crime and I dutifully followed.

So yeah, that's me.

08-23-2007, 06:44 AM
Ha. I got my idea after listening to Fix you by Coldplay. I followed up by downloading The Scientist and that pretty much sums up my book. lol

08-23-2007, 01:52 PM
The short story I'm writing at the moment came from a knitting book!
I was looking at this book about traditional knitting styles, and came across a reference to a tradition where the grandmother would knit a jumper for her grandson when he was about 14, called a Robe of Glory. It was supposed to keep him safe when he was out fishing with the men.
I got to thinking - what if gran could also knit a jumper to curse the boy? And how could the curse be lifted?

Stijn Hommes
08-23-2007, 02:05 PM
I got the idea for one of my current short story WIPs from a series of books (that happen to be turned into a tv series too). One of the characters was so interesting, he inspired me; I took him and molded him until I got a character of my own with only two basic features about him remaining the same. Then, I let him loose on a market, get chased and run into a murder plot.

Another ongoing short story centers around a dead sheep. I know... don't laugh. I got that idea from a writing forum when someone used it as an example how different characters have different viewpoints. They used Fox Mulder and Dana Scully of the X files at the time, but I thought there was another story in there, especially after I found a great final line.

Another story simply sprung from my will to do a horror zombie story, so I brainstormed and made one up, with a twist.

08-23-2007, 02:57 PM
one of those creative geniuses who just conjures your ideas from thin air without any inspiration at all

Xx| :D

Okay, okay. It may seem to come out of nowhere at the time, in most cases, but I eventually draw connections to where I subconsciously drew my ideas.

Whisper was inspired by a slight, temporary obsession with vampires, Michael Jackson (I admit, just here in this li'l ol' thread, that it started as an MJ fanfic), and Evanescence. Particularly, Evanescence's Whi (http://youtube.com/watch?v=WLgn1SfCzYo)sper (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/evanescence/whisper.html).

Now it's also inspired by wanting to write a "vampyre story" that's not just another big cliché. And ultimately inspired by my love for the story and characters, them, now fully there, real, and everything, telling me about it, et cetera.

Epsilon was inspired by...at first, I think it was Shadow the Hedgehog (http://www.sega.com/gamesite/shadow/base.html), from the Sonic games, believe it or not. I liked his whole ultimate weapon/created bioweapon complex. That's how Epsilon started. As the idea developed, I think I subconsciously drew from Children of Men. You know, that movie. I probably saw a preview or two, liked the premise, and subconsciously incorporated it in a way. It also developed from a want to try a more active, plot-based story, and romance, and real big character leaps, and teenagers. And again, since then its developed from a love of the characters and story, and them telling me about it.

Oriel's bit is in small font 'cuz it makes the post too long. :tongue copy+paste into word doc and change size or squint if you want to read it (for whatever reason) but have trouble. :3

Oriel started from Sonic the Hedgehog as well! Oh, this one's history is amazing. Around...2 or 3 years ago, I went to a 4H dog show with a friend. She knew I liked to draw, so suggested we bring drawing supplies and draw the dogs (and maybe the fashions in the fashion show later). Well, I was on a Sonic kick, so I drew this little black and white spotted, floppy eared dog as a Sonic character.

I swear to you, that was the beginning of it. It is absolutely nothing now like it was then.

As it developed I drew from Sonic and other games, manga and anime, and just about anything that caught my eye. It was this big prophecy/chronicles thing where two of the three main antagonists turned good before the end. It matured and matured and matured, and now that little dark-personalty ridden, spotted anthro-dog I named Edward is a too-sweet, optimistic, developmentally challenged in some ways, human albino with heart problems named Ciel. And he's a side character, instead of the prophesized-one MC. And oh yeah, I threw out all the (elemental) magic I called "psychics". And one of the antagonists-turned-good is now the MC. He was once a brown cat with an ego problem named Farouri, and now he's a mixed-race, beautiful hermaphrodite, with a hell of a lot of baggage, named Bavol (middle name is Oriel). The tan porcupine who was the "average guy" who everyone relied upon named Tory is now a tan human "average guy" who everyone relies upon named Tory. ...Wait.

And so on and so forth. I've played with their ages, what they do, when the story's set, everything, and these days what keeps me going is the determination to turn it from an overly clichéd, mary-sue ridden piece of adolescent immaturity into an interesting, dramatic, perhaps epic, well balanced, even inspiring piece of...well, slightly older adolescent maturity. Somewhat. And what makes me so connected to that goal is A) to prove it can be done, and B) because I've grown very, very attached to these characters. All the others (from the later stories like Whisper and Epsilon and Dollhouse, here) practically bow to Bavol, as he's like the godfather of them all. XD

alright, this post is getting long I do believe, but one more story (I doubt anyone really reads all the way through all of these, anyway, so it's just a great little way for me to organize ideas and practice summarizing and analyze...blahblahblah)...

Dollhouse. Perhaps drawn a tad from anime, japanese pop culture (IE, girly-boy j-rockers like Mana-sama), manga, perhaps some Gaia RPGs, and a lot of stuff I just like and am attracted to. Pretty boys. Tender bitter sweet romance. Tragedy. Drama. Complexity in the human psyche. Values. Rights and privileges...

Okay, I'm done. :3 |xX

08-23-2007, 03:54 PM
Good question!

It’s all Claudia’s fault.

I was watching (I’ve never read the book, only seen the movie) Interview With a Vampire and I could not get something out of my head. All night I tossed and turned, thinking of Claudia and how unfair it was that she died. As a father of four, it was a horrible thought to lose a child. The child should live, but how? She was a spoiled brat and a killer. But a child shouldn’t die.

I thought it was Claudia I couldn’t stop thinking about. Half a week I searched for Claudia on the web but nothing satisfied the longing inside. I wanted something but I wasn’t sure.

I write for an online message board so I decided to create a story about a child vampire girl. She would be the opposite of Claudia. When I opened my mind to the concept, she just walked right out. I could see her clearly in my head. I even knew her name, Annabelle. The feeling grew stronger as I created her brother Roland and soon I discovered that these characters wrote themselves.

It wasn’t enough to get just a couple of replies on a message board. I had to get them out into the world to be seen and enjoyed by children everywhere. So I started their novel, ANNABELLE AND ROLAND, THE NIGHT CHILDREN. Over three years later it’s finished, beta tested, edited, beta tested again, edited again and now I’m on the last edits.

Once I’m finished with this last set of edits, it’s resubmit time.

I still feel just as passionate. One day this will happen.

08-23-2007, 04:04 PM
I found inspiration for several stories in exhibitions. Funny, I hadn't thought about it until you asked. One story which I only have a vague idea for came from a photo exhibit. Another, which I am currently plotting, found its setting in another photo exhibition. A lot of the times I just see pictures clearly in my head, and start writing to explore those. I have no idea where they come from though!

08-23-2007, 05:59 PM
Usually, I'll hear something or see something and then the whole idea will just began to unwind itself in my head. For my current solo project however, that was thought up when I decided the librarians would think I'm strange after the odd combination of books I checked out. I was like, "From their point of view I'm writing . . ." and then I saw what a good idea that was with some minor tweaks and talking it out with Reenkam.

08-23-2007, 06:31 PM
Hmmm, that is a good question!

Perhaps I'm crazy but usually a speech just starts up in my head ^^: For my WIP, I can't remember exactly what I was doing, probably reading, but a line floated through my thoughts and it was, "I'm a travellin' man..." and I began to write Travellin' Jonas. I'm on page 103 on Word to date (:

For my previous works, it's been the same... for Eastdale, a man asked if I knew what fear was... for short stories, it's been one person after another talking about what they've done. It's been interesting to say the least :D It can get grinding because if I don't write, the speech keeps coming... good motivator, I guess!

I've seen some things that I really enjoy within movies, or perhaps a particular text, that I would definitely love to try out... I'm more afraid of not tweaking it enough and a reader says, "hey... that sounds awfully similar to so-and-so!" =S Especially when it comes to speech... I'm horrible with dialogue - it's either stilted or round-about which drives me nutty. So my writing, fittingly enough, is generally first person with snippets of speech ^^