Thursday, December 1, 2011
The Creative Process
Where do writers get their ideas? Well, there’s this place in Schenectady – just kidding, that’s an old joke among SF writers. The answer is, damn near everywhere.
I’ve been having a lot of luck with cable TV lately. In addition to pilfering actors and characters, I find story nuggets on factoid networks like The History Channel and NatGeo. Having a twisted imagination helps.
For instance: I was channel surfing the other day and found a show on Animal Planet called The Skunk Whisperer, about a group of animal control experts who remove pesky varmints from homes and such. Got a raccoon in your attic? Skunky and crew are your go-to guys. Snakes, skunks, bees, they handle that sort of thing.
On this particular episode a wildlife rehabilitator called up the boys to help her catch and crate a pair of bobcats for release back into the wild. Being a paranormal/shapeshifter romance writer, I couldn’t help reflecting on how much easier things would go if they had a shifter on their staff who could speak to the animals in their own tongue and talk them into leaving houses or climbing into crates on their own, without all the biting and scratching and yowling and spraying and stuff. It wouldn’t make for exciting TV, but it would save wear and tear on the nets, not to mention the removal guys.
Of course, since they’d never know what kind of animal they’d be dealing with next, they’d have to be conversant in more than one language …
And just like that, I had a character. I christened her an omniwere – a shapeshifter who can assume any animal form. Yes, her. Since I write M/M as well as M/F, I considered both possibilities before deciding on a her. Given her talents, some evil being, human or otherwise, will want to capture her and exploit her, so she’s going to need a male to rescue her – and, of course, fall in love with.
Or two. I came up with a pair of males: James and Cliff, a wolf and a cougar, respectively. They’re friends and partners, but not lovers. They’ve heard about the omniwere and are trying to protect her from the bad guys. But can she trust them? James especially might be a problem. A woman who can assume the form of his deceased wife might prove too great a temptation to resist …
That’s all I’ve got so far. The premise is too flimsy to stand on its own, and will need another idea or two to prop it up and make a workable book. Plus there’s the problem of creative overlap. The day after I drafted this blog, fellow writer Savanna posted a flash on Shapeshifter Seductions about a wolf-and-cougar duo. Sometimes ideas just float around and we all grab the same one. I like her cougar, Dontoya, better than mine, so maybe Cliff’s a bear. If they’re cops or special agents, as things are starting to look, having a bear as the muscle guy makes a lot of sense.
At this point in the development process everything is fluid. I’ll let this simmer for awhile and see what if anything occurs to me. If I develop this into a story, you’ll read about it here.
The bobcats? They got safely released into a wilderness area, hopefully one with lots of birds and rabbits, and none of the guys got bitten. Another happy ending all around.