Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where do babies come from?

No, not those babies but the other babies we love: our manuscripts. Where do those babies come from? How are they born? Blood, sweat, and tears--just like the other ones. But the conception takes place in many ways.

My female motocross driver heroine phase started by attending a motocross event with a boyfriend. I couldn’t think of anything more lame than watching motorcycles going round in circles. I was wrong. I had a blast and several stories were born.

An Ann Rule true crime book started my romantic suspense phase. Her depth of research and the twists and turns fascinated me and inspired many tales of love amid a riveting mystery.

A computer game, Gabriel Knight the Beast Within, set me on the road to writing novels set during the German medieval period because part of the game was set in Bavaria. Also, there was this delicious Baron von Glower (played by Peter Lucas) who just set my hormones and my writer instincts on fire.

My futuristic/fantasy phase started a long time ago with Larry Niven’s novel Ringworld, then got stronger with Susan Grant’s novel Contact, but then really got going with Joss Whedon’s Firefly. I developed a whole social structure, new planets, and new technologies. I’m still working on several novels for that particular series since the possibilities are endless.

I always wonder what will inspire me next but whatever it is I’ll happily go along for the ride. So what are the novels, movies, or television shows that have inspired an entire shift in what you write? Or have you always felt comfortable in your chosen niche with no desire to explore?


Mel Hiers said...

Wow! Can I actually be first? I've been full of Epic Fail on the commenting side lately.

Oh, that picture? Almost made me swallow my gum at the desk. :-P

When I was a kid, it was all mystery all the time. Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie were huge influences!

I switched to writing epic fantasy in my teens/early 20's. I was playing a lot of D&D back then, so the product was really, really, REALLY awful!

A few years later, I read Tanya Huff's Keeper series and Charlaine Harris' Shakespeare mysteries and that's when I started writing contemporary fantasy/mystery/romancy stuff.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Hi Mel! Glad you liked the picture--I've had it for a while and desperately tried to find a blog to use it on. :)

I loved Nancy Drew and D&D and I think they have always bubbled up into my writing in some way.

I've not read Tanya Huff but I'll add her to my TBR pile.

Evonne Wareham said...

Good question Anitra. Answer - I've often wondered. Most times I have absolutely no clue where an idea has come from. But everything I write has a crime in it somewhere, and yesterday I spent a wonderful afternoon trying to burn down a villa in Italy, so I must be tapping into my dark side.

Mel Hiers said...

lol Sounds like you're bringing out your inner arsonist, Evonne!

I recommend Huff to just about everybody! In fact, I've probably mentioned her before here. :-D She has such a wide range of spec fic and does everything from military SF to a detective vampire series. The Keeper series is my fave, though.

Mai Christy Thao said...

Hi Anitra, LOVE the photo!

This is a great topic. For me, story ideas generate from many things, like a single character that won't leave my head, or from my love of history and the paranormal. My Scottish paranormal time travel came about because I've always wanted to write a Scottish hero (from reading Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series and from reading Hannah Howell's books). But the actual story developed from a single phrase that popped into my head one day. Wish I could recall what the phrase was. I have it written down somewhere, just can't remember where.

Evonne, you're comment made me laugh. =)

Savanna Kougar said...

I've had some major influences, other than devouring romances since age 13. The Flame and the Flower being the first 'deep impact'. Every movie I've seen that I liked has influenced me, as did all the James Bond novels I read before the movies.
Stars Wars was a blast that hit to my soul, then Indiana Jones. I decided I wanted to be able to write like that movie, the sheer fierce impact of it.
Later it was Buffy and Angel. Xena, Warrior Princess, and the Hercules spin off. Firefly was good too, along with Stargate.
There were some campy half hour shows made in New Zealand that I absolutely luved. Cleopatra *can't remember the rest of it*, but it was futuristic.
Okay, I'm remembering too many now, so it's time to stop. LOL.
Memory lane can be dangerous at my age.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Evonne--I had no idea you had a secret pyro side! :)

Mai--sometimes I can see a direct correlation between a thought or an event and a story but other times I have no idea where it comes from. I've always wanted to write something Scottish or Irish since I'm both but I've just never gotten bit by that bug--yet. :)

Sav--I think there are so many things that influence us--after the 70th party for my dad, where I captained the big boat myself, I'd really like to do a river story. I just have to find time.

Savanna Kougar said...

Anitra, oh, a river story. I so know what you mean. I started one, or is it a couple?
But the whole gambling on the riverboat theme is just too much fun!

Lol, I forgot to say!
Mel is # ONE, Mel is # ONE!

Evonne, burn, baby, burn. Hope you get the villa fire-stormed, whether by crime or an errant asteroid.

Mai, those Scottish heroes and heroines are always irresistible to me.