Over the last few weeks, after the launch of The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer, I’ve done a lot of author interviews. In nearly every one of those interviews, I’ve been asked the question, “Where does your inspiration come from?”
As any author, artist, graphic designer, or photographer will tell you, it’s nearly impossible to put your finger on the “where” or the “why” of creativity. The process of “inspiration” is like being hit by lighting–it happens out of the blue, and with little or no preparation!
*** Minor Spoilers to follow ***
There are times when I can think back and pinpoint that “aha!” moment when inspiration struck. For example, when I was writing Blade of the Destroyer, I couldn’t quite figure out a few things:
How to explain the Hunter’s near-immortality
What kind of someone would be pulling the Hunter’s strings
How the Bloody Hand (a criminal organization) and the Dark Heresy (the “shadow police”) would be working together.
Too many elements to figure out!
One day, as I was cycling at the gym, I was playing a silly iPad game called Dungeon Hunter. As I was playing it, I was looking at the demons my character was hunting in the game, and it struck me how much fun it would be to write a story using demons not as the villains, but as the sympathetic characters, the protagonists.
“Aha!” moment struck! Immediately, I knew how to make the Hunter near-immortal, I knew who or what would be pulling the Hunter’s strings, and why these two organizations would be working together. It was perfect!
*** End of Spoilers***
But that was just one small detail in the book. As for the rest of the book, the rest of the books in the series (officially 6 books now!), and everything else I have written since, it’s impossible to put my finger on that moment when creativity struck.
I learned one simple lesson from this experience: you can find inspiration in the most mundane things! I got an idea for an entire series of novels from a silly game I was playing. The idea for the voices in the Hunter’s head came from an episode of Criminal Minds (TV show), and the ideas for everything else come from everywhere else!
I’ve had ideas while listening to other books, running on the treadmill, watching goofy YouTube videos, checking out a billboard, surfing Facebook, thinking about stupid things I’ve done in the past, and many more things. It’s not about knowing where the inspiration comes from, but it’s knowing how to turn even the most mundane things into something amazing.
Today, as you walk around, make it a point to look around you. Don’t TRY to find inspiration, but just let your mind wander as you take in the details of what’s going on in your world. You’ll find that the most ridiculous, inane things will inspire creativity in your mind, and you can come up with some pretty awesome things just by taking in the mundane around you!