A to Z Challenge 2013

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blog Chain - You're My Inspiration

Today's question is brought to us by Shaun Hutchinson, the awesome PUBLISHED author among us. That's right people, his debut novel The Deathday Letter is out and available for purchase. Put down the mouse, get your butt to the nearest book store, pick up a copy, and then rush back. Or go here and get it ordered. I'll wait.

Got it?

Okay, I know you're dying to peel open the cover and get to reading it, but please continue reading this post first.  Or come back after you've made it all the way through the book (because you won't be able to put it down).

Now then, on to the question:

From where do you get your inspiration for stories? Give me the oddest, coolest, things that have inspired you.

For me, inspiration comes from all sorts of sources.  I get inspired by the usual things, like music or movies.  But sometimes my inspiration comes from odd moments or even out of nothing.  The movie Stranger Than Fiction was what inspired me to begin writing again, after not being a writer since high school.  I was just sitting there hearing the author narrate the story and it resonated with me.  I thought, "I could do that.  I could write stories like that."
My first attempt at a story involved a homeless woman.  The inspiration for it came from all the homeless people I saw on street corners and my thoughts about how much I'd like to help just one of them - assuming they were the type to want to be helped, of course.  Although I have yet to do the story justice, it's still there waiting for my writing ability to be up to the task.
Sometimes my ideas just come from thin air.  I have another WiP that popped into my head while I was driving with my wife and kids.  It involves a future where all genetics are streamlined and predetermined so that pharmaceutical companies can give humanity the medications they think everyone should have.  They control society through genetic manipulation, but one of their own geneticists alters his son's genes before he's born.  The result is Trevor, the first genetically normal human being born since the cataclysm that brought humanity to their current state of existence.  The resulting story sprung from nothing, but it's been fun to explore.
The oddest inspiration I ever had though was while driving to work early one morning.  There's a bowling alley near our home and their parking lot was empty except for one lone car.  The street lights were casting pools of amber, and my mind began to build the story of someone sitting in that car.  The car wouldn't start and everything around them was shrouded in darkness, except for these pools of light.  Suddenly there was a strange fog spreading across the parking lot and an electricity in the air that the character could feel in their bones.  They knew they had to get out of there.  The story has morphed into something very different from where it began, involving otherworldly dimensions, god-like powers, and an indifferent hero.  It's still percolating in the back of my mind and I honestly am not sure where it's going to end.  But this was by far the oddest source of inspiration I've had.
My predecessor Sandra had a great answer to this question, and Michelle Hickman is all set to follow me tomorrow.  Check 'em out; both are great sources of inspiration themselves.


Tere Kirkland said...

Wow, that sounds like a great book! Thanks for introducing me.

Inspiration is a fickle creature. Sometimes I get ideas from strange things that happen to me, sometimes from things I see out the window or while walking around the city.

I do notice I'm more open to inspiration when I'm drafting than when I'm editing. Like my brain knows I'm too busy to handle that kind of stimulus overload during the editing phase.

Since I started planning two sequels to the novel I'm revising, I've been much more inspired by everyday life.

Great post, Eric.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You have a great imagination!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Those all sound like interesting ideas!

Now I have to get the Chicago song out of my head? ;)

Travis Erwin said...

My inspiration seems to mostly pour forth from a bottle.

Anonymous said...

Great answer! Thanks for sharing...BTW, now I'm gonna totally freak when I walk to my car in an empty parking lot at night. (We tend to get a lot of fog in the northeast.)

Cole Gibsen said...

I get so many of my ideas in the car! (Probably why I have so many speeding tickets) lol

B.J. Anderson said...

I have goosebumps from that scene in the parking lot. Can't wait to see what it develops into for you!! Awesome post. :D

nomadshan said...

Cool ideas, Eric. I was blown away by stranger than fiction -- loved how the author was literally too involved with her characters.

Glynis said...

Great post, thanks for sharing. It is always interesting to read where others gain inspiration for their writing.

The carpark scene is spooky.

Author Blog: Glynis Smy

Christine Fonseca said...

I love seeing where you get your ideas...COOL!

Michelle McLean said...

Oooo I loved Stranger than Fiction - it always makes me want to write as well :)

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Wow! I love that story idea. I hope I'll get to read it some day :) Also, lone cars in dark parking lots? AWESOME.

Eric said...

Wow, thank you everyone. I didn't know everyone would like the parking lot scene so much. Thanks for all the great comments though.

Sarah Bromley said...

I'm another one who gets a lot of idea when in the car. Great image that you painted and I would enjoy seeing that idea play out in a story!

Michelle H. said...

That description of the parking lot was absolutely awesome! Can't wait to see what story develops from it.