There are so many things that inspire the creative in us. What, exactly, is that trigger that brings about the kernel of an idea? I thought I’d write about a few that inspire me.
A lovely picture can inspire so much. The book and subsequent movie, Girl with a Pearl Earring, was inspired by the painting of the same name by Johannes Vermeer, and detailed a fictionalised account of how the painting came to be created. I often see a pretty picture and imagine a whole world surrounding it. Recently, I saw a painting of a couple dancing the tango and I immediately pictured the scenario around them. A hot, humid night. Passion and desire arcing between them. Though the room is over-crowded, each only has awareness of the other and they dip and sway and dance until the first blush of dawn colours the horizon.
*sigh* I love that painting.
Sometimes, I will hear a random phrase or a snippet of conversation and this will spark a whole story in me. Sometimes, a word that strikes my fancy, one I think is beautiful or interesting and will take me on a tangent I hadn’t anticipated. Sometimes, I will incorporate a phrase I love or think is funny just as an in-joke to myself and people who also know the reference.
My novella, Enslaved (coming soon from Decadent Publishing – shameless plug!) first was inspired by the television show, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I was watching all the pretty boys run around in not much at all and a scenario popped into my head, one where a daughter of the trainer of the gladiators/slaves was in love with the champion of the school. The show did not feature a daughter as a character, so that was complete fiction, but the scenario I imagined, where the slave who hated his master fell in love with his daughter and she with a man so far beneath her status, I found rich with dramatic appeal. Needless to say, I jumped upon it and three days later I had the bones of the story. Now, my little story inspired by a TV show is about to be published. Not too shabby, me thinks!
Way the first – taking a novel and re-imagining it with vampires/zombies/seamonsters.
This is an extremely popular option at the moment. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith appeared to be the first to gain notoriety in this trend. The author took the original material and tweaked it so that zombies now appear in Elizabeth and Mr Darcy’s world. The Bennet girls become Zombie Hunters, and the whole gentle comedy of errors becomes a bloody comedy/horror extravaganza! The popularity of this novel has led to several other incarnations of popular books, where the original characters and situations are tweaked to contain, usually, horror tropes.
Way the second – being inspired by a story to write an alternative, but using only the theme/structure/feel of the book
This happens in probably 85% of all genre writing. You see a book in the genre you love and think “That could have been much better”. So, you knuckle down and write your own version, with your characters and your situations, retaining the feel of the book that inspired you but making the story wholly your own. I know I have had many a situation where I’ve read a book and thought it should have gone in a different way *cough*twilight*cough*. My first novel, Teach Me, arose out of my love for reading about two common themes: the reformed rake and the educational, where one character is a tutor for another.
So there you go, some of the things that inspire me! What inspires you?