Today’s inspiration

Posted: May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I had a real ‘aha!’ moment the other day – the sort where inspiration strikes, not the sort involving breezy 1980s Scandi-pop. And it seemed interesting enough as a piece of writing process that I thought it worth sharing.

I was struggling with novel writing. I’ve had a couple of stabs at this before. A year and a half ago I even completed a first draft, and though by the end I knew it was fundamentally flawed, the experience was a useful one. But to write a novel means finding an idea of such awesomeness that it’ll keep my attention and drive my motivation for months on end. And that was what I lacked. I had several ideas, but none of them had that vital zing.

Then I listened to an old episode of Writing Excuses (an awesome podcast on sf+f writing, I heartily recommend it). One of the hosts mentioned an idea that fantasy and sci-fi are just trappings, and that the same story could be told in different settings. I don’t agree with this 100%, but something about it really hit home. Maybe I could try taking one of my ideas and change the trappings.

That was when the inspiration struck. On the one hand I had an idea with great character dynamics, but a setting that would require more research than I have time for. On the other hand, I had a setting I know back to front, but for which I’d never come up with a decent story. So, combine the character dynamics of one – the core story – with the setting of the other – the trappings – and what did I get? Something I’m really keen on, that’s what. The character dynamics will have to change a little to fit this setting, showing the limits of that ‘just trappings’ hypothesis, but fundamentally it works. I can tell the same story in a different setting, and it’ll be better for it.

So now I’ve started planning. My desk is littered with books and notes, my brain is buzzing with excitement, I’m raring to go. Hooray for Writing Excuses. And – why not? – hooray for ’80s Scandi-pop.

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