Inspiration and Story Origin

Every story is, at its core, a single thought or image. Often, this thought or image is the original inspiration of the story.

As I wade through the wisdom within Stephen King’s On Writing, I have resonated with certain ideas he puts forth. One of these, as previously states, that a story is born from a single precious piece. This piece might be an image, a thought (commonly called a “what if”), or a dream. The common factor within these, which is the spark of the story, is the wondrous excitement it causes you, the writer. The kindling which you can’t help but light.

In this sense, I suppose writers are similar to pyromaniacs. Ehehe.

I have also come to the conclusion that a story burns out when the writer loses sight of the origin which made them want to write the story in the first place. I know this is commonly the case with me. I love worldbuilding… but I get so complex that I lose sight of the magical idea I wanted to write about and get lost in the details. Details are poisoned arrows. I am highly susceptible to poison. Therefore, getting lost in the details effectively kills my stories.

In hopes of preventing this from happening, I am making a resolution. Whenever I come up with a new story, I will write down the inspiration and story origin. Whenever I sit down to write the story, I will first review the ISO. If I start to divulge in details which draw me away from the ISO, I will simplify.

What do you do to keep a story from dying? Where do you keep the original wonder?

 

Cheers!

Hymn to Eternal Truth

Written in the deepest element of all creation,

From the cold hard stone which forms the earth

To the star petals set aloft on thy airy brow

And the green blue blood flowing trenched between-

In the mists and the shadows,

In the crags and the effaces,

In the changing and the unchanging-

Inexhorable, art thou, Truth.

 

 

This poem sort of corresponds to one of my old (i.e. absolutely terrible instead of just terrible) stories. I was thinking, what if every story had a core made of words, like the earth’s core of molten iron. What would that core be? Oh, and thank you, Percy Bysshe Shelley, for the title inspiration.

 

Cheers!

Zuki: Dreamrider

Project Kitsune: Variety B. Discipline 203 in progress.

Project Kitsune

A top secret government organization producing lab specimens demonstrating particular abilities in hopes of forming stealth agents capable of tracking and observing a mysterious rising power.

Security Grade Omega-Sigma

This is really secret stuff. It even has Greek letters.

Variety B

This variety of stealth agent was developed to be a messenger. It is most highly skilled in Set 2 of the Disciplines.

Subject 2.2

Second generation stealth agent. Both parents are first generation stealth agents. Preferred Name: Zuki. Codename: Luna.

Discipline 201

The lowest level of Set 2 of the Disciplines. Commonly called Dreamriding. Subject is able to recreate herself inside another person’s dreams and communicate with them.

Discipline 202

The second level of Set 2 of the Disciplines. Commonly called Chaining. Subject is able to recreate herself in reality an indefinite number of times and operate independently of her original body.

Discipline 203

The highest level of Set 2 of the Disciplines. Commonly called Timing. Subject is able to place her dream recreation or her reality recreation in whatever time and place she chooses.

Kitsune

Kitsune are fox spirits from Asian folklore, particularly Japanese. They aren’t spirits in the same way ghosts are; the term simply defines them as having a dominant supernatural side, rather than a dominant physical side like normal foxes.

A kitsune is said to possess unnatural intelligence, long life, and magical powers. The most common of magical powers attributed to kitsune is shapeshifting. A kitsune can learn to take the form of a human when it reaches a certain age: 50-100 years old. Other powers kitsune may manifest are the ability to generate fire or lighting from their mouths and tails, the ability to purposely appear in another’s dreams, the ability to create complex optical illusions, and invisibility. The most powerful kitsune can drive people mad, bend space and time, and shapeshift into massive objects such as a second moon or a tree that reaches into the celestial sphere. Kitsune are also terrified of dogs…heehee.

Some ways a kitsune is revealed in its human form is a fox-shaped shadow, or a reflection in a mirror–in which it will look like a fox, of course. Kitsune also have star-balls, or fox-fire, that they have to keep with them at all times. This is usually manifested as a glowing, floating ball near their person. Sometimes the fox-fire can be contained in pearls or other gems. The fox keeps part or all of its magic inside the star-ball, and is helpless when separated from it.

The color of a kitsune is important in knowing what sort of kitsune they are. White foxes are, of course, good. Black foxes are also considered good. Gold foxes are the oldest, in possession of all of the nine tails that are so commonly associated with them. They are either incredibly benevolent or decidedly evil and vicious. Red foxes are young foxes, and can be either good or bad. There are also wild foxes, who don’t have a specific set of morals, but they are not associated with a particular color. Kitsune in general tend to be quite ambiguous when it comes to morality. Also, air kitsune are the most ultimate of evil kitsune.

 

A lot of good material there! Of course, my kitsune will be vastly different from the original kitsune outlined here, but still…kitsune are pretty cool! Way cooler than elves, if you ask me. Of course, I have this little button when it comes to elves. If it isn’t Tolkien, it had better not have a tall, beautiful elf. You know?

What is your favorite (not overused) magical creature?

 

Cheers!

Favorite Female Characters

My five favorite female characters.

 

5#

Lessa (Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey)

“Dragon kind was no less cruel than mankind. The Dragon, at least, acted from bestial need rather than bestial greed.”

Lessa comes from the same world as Jaxom; in fact, they are related. Lessa’s family was killed by Jaxom’s father, and her distant cousin is his mother. She is Weyrwoman of Benden, the most powerful female dragonrider on the planet. She is small and firey, with little motherly compulsion. Despite her prickly exterior, she has caring heart, and frets over the safety of her men almost constantly.

4#

Lucy Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis)

“That’s the worst of girls,” said Edmund to Peter and the Dwarf. “They never can carry a map in their heads.”

 “That’s because our heads have something inside them,” said Lucy.” 

Yes, I had to sort of sneak an Edmund quote in, because I forgot to put him in my favorite male characters list. Heh. Now, Lucy…well, she’s a believer. She’s also feminine. No super warrior woman here. Lucy’s power is in her magnetic charm and her enormous faith. She also has fifteen years more life experience than all the other girls her age, thanks to the whole time mess between Earth and Narnia.

3#

Meg (A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’engle)

“Like and equal are not the same thing at all.”

Meg is a clumsy, backwards girl with braces, glasses, and dreamboat eyes. She’s also a math genius. Her parents are scientists, and their bumbling (but brilliant) experiments get her, her boyfriend Calvin, and her unusual baby brother Charles Wallace into all sorts of trouble. She has a temper and isn’t quite normal, like her parents, or unusual, like her boyfriend and her little brother, but she has a special talent. She can love like no other.

2#

Eowyn (Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien)

“Alas, not me, lord!” she said. “Shadow lies on me still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle.”  

Eowyn is no prissy female. After all, not just anyone can kill the Witchking of Angmar. Eowyn lives under the shadow of evil, and it has mutated her heart until all she can see is the glory to be gained in battle. It takes great loss to show her a new path; healing herself by healing others.

1#

Cornflower (Redwall, Brian Jacques)

“Even the strongest and bravest must sometimes weep. It shows they have a great heart, one that can feel compassion for others.”

Haha! Another mouse! The early books by Brian Jacques are full of quality characters. It isn’t until later that they become stereotyped and…well, lame. Cornflower is the best heroine I can think of. She’s not an anthro-Eowyn. She’s as domestic a heroine as you can get. She makes a killer vegetable soup. Literally. Ask the vermin who got a cupful in the face. Cornflower plays her role in the battles of Redwall, but where she really shines is supporting her warrior as he grows into his role. Cornflower is always behind the scenes, taking care of the Redwallers so Matthias can take care of the vermin.

I think, if I had to choose a book character as a role model, it would probably be Cornflower.

 

Who are your favorite female characters?

 

Favorite Male Characters

My seven favorite male characters from books:

 

7#

 Luke Garner  (Shadow Children Sequence, Margaret Peterson Haddix)

“I have a choice.”

Luke is an illegal third child in a world where population is strictly regulated. He grows from a timid, quiet boy convinced of his own worthlessness to a brave, quiet boy who has infiltrated his enemy and (accidentally) started a rebellion.

6#

Jaxom (The White Dragon, Anne McCaffrey)

“If he isn’t clean now, I don’t know what clean is!”

Jaxom is Lord Holder of Ruatha–as the result of a political bet. He is also a dragonrider, and his father was the bad guy of the century. He matures from a boy confused about who he is to a man who knows his place as a dragonrider and a Lord Holder, and is completely capable of doing his job and more.

5#

Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins)

“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever.”

Peeta is a baker’s son with an affinity for frosting. His problem: he is hopelessly in love with a poacher from the bad part of town, and they have both been selected to compete in a televised fight to the death. Peeta’s main transformation, as far as I can see, is in the stability of his mind. It goes from stable to unstable to generally stable-ish.

4#

Four (Divergent, Veronica Roth)

“I have a theory that selflessness and bravery aren’t all that different.”

Four was raised in Abnegation, but transfered to Dauntless to get away from his abusive father. (Those are factions, btw.) He only has four fears, but he can’t seem to get over them…until he meets another Abnegation transfer named Tris, who can take him through his fears. Oh, he falls in love with her. Of course.

3#

Moist Von Lipwig (Going Postal, Terry Pratchett)

“I commend my soul to any god that can find it.”

Moist is a con-man. He’ll never grow out of it; he still steals Ankh-Morpork’s tyrant’s secretary’s pencil everytime he is called in. Yup, this con-man works for the government. He runs the post office, and wages bloodless wars with the alternative mass communicator, the Clacks. Not that he wanted to, but it was an excellent alternative to being hanged…again….

2#

Doon Harrow (City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau)

“Unintended consequences, he thought miserably. He was angry at his anger, the way it surged up and took over.”

Doon has never seen sunlight, or grass, or animals. All his food comes out of cans, and all his light comes from a massive generator, which is failing. He and his best friend have to find a way out of their city, before the lights go out forever. Doon likes to know how things work. He’s good with his hands. He’s serious, fatalistic, compassionate, and has a black temper, which tends to get the better of him.

1#

Matthias of Redwall (Redwall, Brian Jacques)

“Err, sorry Father Abbot. I tripped y’see. Trod on my Abbot, Father Habit. Oh dear, I mean….”

“Weapons may be carried by creatures who are evil, dishonest, violent or lazy. The true warrior is good, gentle and honest. His bravery comes from within himself; he learns to conquer his own fears and misdeeds.”

Yes, I know, Matthias is a mouse. And yes, I gave him two quotes and made him number one. Why?

As you can see from the first quote, the Matthias we meet is not quite…heroic. His sandals and his habit are too big, and his dreams of being a great warrior like the founder of his abbey, Martin, are out of place in his peaceful times. However, when Redwall Abbey is threatened, Matthias is the mouse to save the day. Figuratively. He finds the lost sword of Martin the Warrior and defeats the evil rat Warlord. Whoohoo. That’s not why he’s number one.

The reason Matthias is number one is because his growth is so much bigger. You see, he’s in a second book. Mattimeo. In Mattimeo, his son is kidnapped by a slave trader. Matthias will do anything to get his son back, and he does…barely. The second quote is him trying to teach his son the way of a true warrior. Can you see the difference? Bumbling young fool, wise father and warrior…ah, that is a good character. The best part is, you see him turn from one to the other. It’s not a “oh, look, he’s in a different book, so I can change his character” sort of thing. It’s a “this is who he was; this is who he became. Where can I take him from here” sort of thing.

There you have it! Why am I doing this? I’ll bet you can guess. I should do girl characters next, but I’m naturally more attracted to the male characters. There might be a few that are awesome enough to command my attention, though…hmmm…. Oh, by the way, none of the above belong to me. Obviously. They belong to the authors listed with them. Excellent authors, every one. XD

Cheers!

Story in a Hat

Keep working on Red Flower or start a new WIP for Camp NaNoWriMo like I promised? This question was killing me, until I found a new story in a hat.

I mentioned previously that I had purchased a writing book by Chris Baty, Lindsey Grant, and Tavia Stewart-Streit, called Ready, Set, Novel! Thanks to its wonderful brainstorming section, I decided to fulfill my vow and write a completely new story for Camp NaNoWriMo.

One of the exercises was to write a list of words you liked, things that excited you, and things you liked to read about in stories. Next, you picked your nine favorites. You wrote each of these words/phrases on a separate scrap of paper, placed them in a hat, and drew out three. You repeated this procedure twice more. When you were done, you had three groups of three words/phrases which you were to “What if” into a possible story idea. I’ll use my results as an example.

 

Novel 1–family secrets, unusual magical creatures, special powers

Novel 2–strange eyes, secret societies, magic jewelry

Novel 3–harps, hidden clues, alternate worlds

 

Of course, I couldn’t possibly confine myself to just one of these novel ideas. I had to combine them all! Like so.

 

What if a certain song played on a certain harp opened a tiny pocket of an alternate world in which rested clues that, when put together, opened an even bigger portal protecting a magic object?

What if the magic object was a piece of magic jewelry that was being sought by a secret society identifiable only by their strange eyes?

What if a teenager found out that her family were the secret guardians of the harps, but the secret society had found out, too? What if she and her family were actually refugees from the alternate world the harps opens? What if they are actually unusual magical creatures with special magic powers?

What if the secret society members are humans who have bound their souls to musical instruments, which gives them the ability to sense when a harp is near? Or maybe when a guardian is near?

What if the magic jewelry is just one of many magical objects hidden by refugees on Earth?

 

My story-sensors are tingling! What do you think? Have you ever tried this exercise?

 

Cheers!