RW7: Inspiration

Little Willow asks:

What inspires you to write?

This is one of those questions that make me go all monosyllabic1 and grunty and I-dunno, I-dunno, I-dunno. Cause most of the time I have no idea where story ideas come from. None.

But sometimes I know exactly where. Like the Magic or Madness trilogy which began something like this:

I was reading a fantasy novel that suddenly took a turn for the deeply lame. So lame that I wound up throwing it across the room. Here’s what caused the book hurlage:

“I am in trouble!” quoth the hero. “Fortunately I have a magic pill of trouble-destroying properties! I will swallow it! All will be well.”2

This reader couldn’t swallow it. I was so cranky I started writing a book of my own. One where the magic wasn’t there to fix every problem the hero (or author) encounters; a book where, indeed, magic is the problem. That book became Magic or Madness.

It probably reflects poorly upon me that I am more inspired by books I hate than books I love. Sigh.

But I’m not alone, am I? Someone tell me I’m not alone . . .

  1. Don’t you love how the word for speaking in one syllable words has many syllables? []
  2. No, I will not name the book. You people know the drill. []


  1. Kathryne on #

    it’s not just you. many’s the time i’ve been stalled in my wip and i’ll read another book purporting to deal with the same material, and i’ll find myself tearing my hair and shrieking “no! stop! you’ve got it all wrong, and you’re missing the most interesting bit!”

    and then i throw it across the room and hustle back to my computer.

  2. orangedragonfly on #

    i write mostly poetry, and i’m much much more likely to see a poem in something awful that happens than in sunshine and butterflies. in college my professor/advisor commented on that often, and almost always added, “but that works for you! don’t worry about it!”

    and now i say the same to you, justine. the magic or madness books are fantastic, who cares that the idea came from a book you hated??! not me, i’m just happy to be able to read your books! 😉

  3. Diana on #

    I got the idea for secret society girl because the Skulls was on TV and I was so sick of movies that portrayed secret societies that way.

  4. Ted Lemon on #

    You’re not alone. Whenever I read a book and think about how badly the author’s current idea is going, I get an idea for the book that would replace it. Sort of like Deep Thought. Sadly, though, I never actually write any of these books… :’}

    So I think the fact that you actually got down to it and did the fix reflects well on you.

  5. Rebecca on #

    definitely not alone. i started writing because some of my favorite books/tv shows would never quite satisfy me. they were lame. usually things were too simple or characters (especially villains) were too black and white. my stories are ridiculously complicated with villains who are also good, or vulnerable in some way. they’re human. a large part of the time, i have trouble swallowing an mc who is too good, and even more a villain who is all evil. and things have to be complicated. friends who’ve known each other for years have to act like it, and there have to be layers to a person. etc. and because i wasn’t always getting that from other people’s stuff, i started trying to write it myself.

  6. Ez on #

    Of course you’re not alone! I didn’t like the way vampires are usually portrayed in fiction, so I up and wrote my own – it’s currently doing the agent rounds.

    Have a lovely day! 🙂

  7. Rebecca on #

    oooh, ez! that’s exactly me too! i love the concept of vampires, but they are often done so poorly, or they’re always monsters. i have a massive vampire trilogy. it’s a massive mess as well, but eh. i hope you get published! 😀

  8. PixelFish on #

    damn, now i am googling “magic pill” and slogging through the results. sigh. such a tease. 🙂

  9. Justine on #

    When you figure it out let me know! I’ll be dead impressed.

  10. Penni on #

    Youse all need to become editors. Then you get to write excitable reports telling writers what you think they need to do next or have meetings with other editors and talk over the top of each other about brilliant ways to solve issues in novels. except then you get all hurt when they don’t take your brilliant suggestions and go and make up their own minds. Sheesh. Bloody authors.

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