Skip to main content

Some Thoughts On Inspiration

In what was a first for me, a reader reached out to me through my website to tell me that he was a fan and to ask where I got my inspiration from. I wrote back with an answer, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked my answer, so I've decided to reproduce it here.

Inspiration... So, to my way of thinking, storytelling is a marriage of three elements: you need a good character, you need a plot/setting to place that character in, and you need some kind of external conflict that mirrors the character's internal conflict. Characters are usually inspired by people I know or by characters in other media--I'll take a handful traits from different individuals and mix them together. I usually will have a guiding philosophy in mind for this person. It won't be obvious in the story, but it helps the writing to be able to say fundamentally, quirks aside, this individual is a humanist/hedonist/narcissist/etc. Story/setting are the weird ideas that occur to you a dozen times a day. What if people could teleport to the grocery store, etc. If I stumble across an even remotely interesting notion, I'll jot it down for later reference, so at any given time I've got a list of fifty-ish ideas I can mull over. Most of these never become stories and the list does get pruned from time to time. Finally, I consume a lot of news and non-fiction, so that gives me a thematic basis for the conflict of a story. I'm always on the lookout for interesting philosophical/economic/moralistic notions that can be translated into a smaller individual conflict.

There's also a lot of personal taste in there. I like redemptive heroes more than virtuous ones. I like optimistic heroes over dour ones. I like anything about AI or time travel. Once I have a workable mix, I'll flesh out the plot and get writing, but that process is less about inspiration than practice. And it doesn't always happen as cleanly as I've described above--sometimes I just start running with a plot because I'm excited about the idea and I figure out the character and themes on the fly. But overall that's the basic process.

]{p

Comments

Deepak Yadav said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deepak Yadav said…
Well, nice thoughts thanks for sharing. I love to read inspirational thoughts because they help us a lot in our life. we all some time stuck at some point and at that time we all need inspirational thoughts that lead us on the right path of life. When I need some thoughts than I read books. Usually, I download eBook online and read the story.
Michael Ruth said…
Well written post shared. You really shared inspirational thoughts. Great work.
meet and greet at Heathrow
meet and greet at Luton

Popular posts from this blog

100 Albums

Hello all!

In an attempt to keep the old blog from atrophying, I'm going to try out a project a friend of mine did a few years ago and spend the year writing about some of my favorite albums. So over the next 50 weeks, you can expect a couple entries a week until we get to 100. Or until I run out of steam and give up. Whichever comes first.

The only rule I'm giving myself here is to limit things to one album per artist. If that would preclude other favorite albums from making the list, I'll note it, but I don't want the list to be completely overrun by Radiohead and the Beatles. I'm going to start at the top of the list (that is, with my #1 favorite), but the ordering is not super rigorous--especially beyond the first twenty or so.

I'll put a master list on a page that's easily accessible from the front and I'll probably throw in some supplemental stuff, like albums I loved as a child but can't really listen to anymore for various reasons or albums …

"Writing Lots!" by Dawn Vogel

Hi, I'm Dawn, and I'm doing guest post here on Kurt's blog. I write fantasy, steampunk, YA, and pretty much anything else that looks shiny for a moment. You can learn more about me here! Today, I'm talking about how I write as much as I do.

I've been writing since I knew how to do so, but I've been writing with an eye toward publication for about eleven years. As I've gotten more comfortable with the craft of writing, my productivity has increased dramatically. In the first six years I was writing seriously, I wrote fewer than twenty short stories, all told. Over the next three years, I increased my output and wrote about a dozen stories a year (with an occasional poem mixed in). Last year, I wrote 38 short stories/flash and 6 poems. This year, I've already surpassed that, and it's only September.

In analyzing how I've increased my output so dramatically, I've found three main keys to my prolific writing: 1) planning, 2) stolen moments, and 3)…

On Getting Laser Eyes

Last week I got Lasik. I was looking forward to not having to deal with glasses getting smudged by my kids or slipping off my face. I figured that not needing them would be pretty convenient. However, the words I heard over and over from other people who'd already done it were: "life-changing." That seemed to be overstating a bit. Convenient, yes, but life-changing? I didn't get it.

I get it now.

I've had some kind of vision correction, either glasses or contacts, for the last thirty-odd years, which is nearly as far back as I can remember. And what I hadn't realized was the extent to which this had become part of my identity. It's not that I thought glasses were cool because I wore them--although I did and they are. It's that the ability to see was, for me, artificial and temporary. And my vision was pretty bad, so my natural state was one of... not so much "blindness" as "isolation." There was a layer of vagueness that sat betwee…