Friday, July 20, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest: The Big Idea Mine



For today's Buccaneer post, we're supposed to confess the location of our Super Secret Idea Mines talk about how we came up with the ideas for our novels. I know I've already written a little about the inspiration that started me writing in the first place. Heck, it's how I came up with the name for this blog!

For those who haven't read my entire backlog of blog entries, here's a brief sum-up:

I had a recurring nightmare for years. And I mean like twenty years. Every once in a while, it would come back for a visit, haunt my nightmares for a while, and then disappear for a few months at a time. When I had a particularly horrid bout with the nightmares last summer, in desperation I decided to write the whole dream down. I figured it might help work through whatever issues kept my brain from rehashing the nightmare every night. If it didn't help with the nightmares, at least it would explain my increasingly sleep-deprived state to my husband.

For some reason, when I wrote the dream out, the characters who terrified me the most became the heroes of the story on paper. I saw the entire nightmare inside-out, and the things that scared me suddenly had a story of their own. And they weren't scary anymore. They became my friends. I gave them a purpose, and they rewarded me by shielding me from the crazy nightmares.

After a few days of writing, I realized I had an awful lot of story to go over from a single nightmare. Since the act of writing stopped the dreams, I kept writing. I wrote two epic fantasy novels with those characters.

When I was about to plunge into the plotted and planned third novel with them, I realized that what I had written so far was not terribly commercially viable. In reality, those two novels taught me how to write something commercially viable (I hope!). Instead of continuing a series I didn't think would ever sell, I figured there was no harm in trying to write something that might sell.

I have no idea where Thalia and her crew came from. One day, I envisioned a lone woman walking through a park in Boston after dark, and fighting off an embarrassingly poor attempt at a robbery by spinning around and walking on like nothing happened. Thalia was born.

While I keep writing for myself, because if I stop the nightmares might come back, I'd like to think that twenty years of horrible nightmares might finally bring some happiness to others!

9 comments:

  1. What an interesting source of inspiration! PS-- are you a Bostonian, too? Holding back squeals until I hear back. :P

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  2. What a great way to rid yourself of horrifying characters in nightmares!

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    1. It works! I haven't had a bad dream in over a year! :)

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  3. I LOVE that story. So glad you turned somethign scary into something wonderful!

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  4. Hey Laura! This inspiration is something like an abstract beauty. Nightmares turned novel that banned scary dreams. WOW! coolness!

    My son came to me just this morning and said he wanted to write his dream into a book. So I spent the morning writing down what he dreamed. It was about a little boy who was bitten by a wolf, which turned him into a werewolf. Original? Nope! But for my son, I was thrilled he even thought of writing a book. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, heh?

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    1. My daughter likes to write down her dreams, too! It must be genetic. I'm just glad she enjoys writing. It made her first year in middle school a lot easier. She tackled her first real writing assignments with gusto and flair.

      A bit of writing advice that helped me: Try to see the story from the villain's point of view. Understand the bad guy's motives. The bad guy doesn't see himself as a bad guy. Writing out my dream took that perspective as far as it could go. The antagonist from my dream became the hero of my story.

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  5. I love the way you turned around your nightmares into something creative and inspiring, and started to love characters that had been scary. I think the writing comes from a very deep place then.

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    1. Thanks! The writing itself leaves a lot to be desired, but someday I'll dig those stories out and rewrite them now that I have a half a clue what I'm doing. :)

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