I often wonder, when I’m reading, from where the author drew inspiration, or how the germ of an idea sprouted. Was it a face in a crowd, an article in a newspaper, a place, a personal experience, a memory from years ago? I think it’s a fascinating point of discussion because not only do you learn something about the author, but you also learn how they set about creating a story, and in that way, the reader is able to learn about the nature of story itself. And that, for any reader, particularly a non-writer, is akin to a mystical and magical process. And I do think it behooves authors to share this with their readers.
In case you’re wondering why I’m pondering this maligned topic it’s because once again, for the eleventy-hundredth time I’ve read of an author bemoaning the dreaded “where do you get your ideas from” question. And truly, I do want to smack your authorial butts when you do this! Come on, get over yourselves, your readers are genuinely intrigued and interested, don’t be so bad-ass as to whinge when they ask. They want to know. And you owe it to them to tell them. It’s part of the magic you create. (Unless, of course, you’re hiding deep dark secrets and it was really you who committed that murder and not your character, or you really are plotting to bring an end to the world…)
Right, now that little rant over, (and I make utterly no apologies), I’ve also been pondering the matter because I’ve been dreaming rather a lot about whales lately – wonderful, rich and vivid dreams. And last night’s dream not only involved whales but also a story-teller. And as I thought about the dream and the shamanic interpretation of whale symbolism (it’s all about creativity), I started thinking about the mythology of whales, which set me to thinking about mythology per se, which in turn directed my thoughts to local mythology, and that in turn brought a setting and two characters to mind... And before you know it, I’d leapt out of bed and gone sprinting down the passage to switch on the ‘puter so I could scribble down a sort of prologue thing and the flurry of ideas that suddenly started invading my consciousness.
So, when this story sees the light of day and someone asks me, “Where did you get your inspiration from?” I shall smile and say, “From a dream and a place and a bit of mythology - and you can read about it in a blog post I wrote back in 2012.”
And on that note, there will now be a short blogging break while I go off and stare at the ocean and look for whales.