Light bulb

Inspiration is such a strange and essential force for an author, and we need to pull it from wherever we can find it. For me, inspiration can be like a patchwork quilt, a line from a song, a character from a book, a writing style, and a plot idea can come together and be woven into an original idea.

For The Order of the Key, the first seed came from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was the first time I’d ever seen a television show that crossed genres, styles, and attitudes. Buffy could be funny in one episode and tragic in the next. Sometimes it was horror, sometimes it was paranormal. Sometimes it was episodic, sometimes it was arc-based. I loved the way the series mixed it up, and I saw that as a powerful way to tell a story. Life can be all of those things, and it’s fun to shine a light on that. So when I dealt with the new characters I was forming in my head, I tried not to conform them to one specific style, and let them just be people – which led to my Contemporary Fantasy, which has elements of horror, elements of comedy, elements of romance.

Now, I had never read a book that behaved the way Buffy did as a television series. And I also had fears of giving my characters flaws. I was concerned about making them far too unlikeable. And then I read The Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. Reading Kelley’s books gave me both the courage to build unique systems of supernatural characters and to build complex characters with gray areas. I thought I always needed the good guys to be stalwart and true or I’d risk their likeability. Ms. Armstrong soundly corrected me.

The members of the Order are all trained at an Estate that doubles as a school and a living space. If I said anything but X-Men inspired me, I’d be lying.

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins inspired me to explore the harsh realities of war. The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime inspired me to take chances with the voice of the narration. My lead character, Jacklyn, has a very unique point of view, and we get the story from her. It never had the same magic when I tried to tell it third person.

I’m sure there are other things that linked together to create the idea for The Order of the Key. I can think of many times where I’d hear a turn of phrase, the lyrics of a song, or met a person that made me want to write something down. As artists, we spend our entire life fed ideas and inspiration, we internalize that, and when we’re ready to create something ourselves, these ideas mix together to create something truly unique. I hope you enjoy my unique creation.

Where do you find inspiration?

4 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. If I say, “LIfe, the universe, and everything,” is that cheating? 😉

    The real answer is…I’m not entirely sure. I’ve literally “grown up” with my main character. She started out as a kid I wrote stories about when I was a kid. And somehow as I got older, she always did as well. Then when I started learning as an adult how to actually craft a story and flesh out characters and such, well, she just made the leap into adulthood. Only she became less idealized and more of a “real” person with foibles and flaws and a unique voice and a story to tell that wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be.

    Oh! I do know one source of inspiration. One of the major themes I’m attempting to explore comes from a TED Talk by Brene Brown. I LOVE that talk. I’ve watched it and its sequel multiple times. I’m reading two of her books from the library. I love what she says about vulnerability and how we can be “wholehearted.”

    1. That’s great. Your character must have evolved and grown so much since then. It’s hard to watch our precious characters, the ones we mold for a very long time, like you have yours, start to behave in a more human, more flawed way. I would say it would be nice if they could stay sweet and innocent, but then they would also be boring. 😉

      I must check out that TED Talk! Thanks!

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