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I was recently asked about my writing inspiration. What inspires my ideas? My current series is about vampires, werewolves, and a little bit of magic. What authors inspired me? How do I come up with my titles? How do I come up with my story ideas?
That last question is probably the one I get the most, and it is one of the most difficult to answer. Why? Because I get my ideas from so many places, from books I've read and movies I've watched, and just random ideas that pop into my head.
When I was a kid first writing stories, they were all high fantasy written in 3rd person. Why? Because that's what I read! The first big book series that I read at age 10 was The Belgariad series by David Eddings. A big undertaking for a ten-year-old. After that I read anything and everything I could, but the books that really stuck with me were the Dragonlance books, particularly the original trilogy, and The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist. The Belgariad and Riftwar books both had a young boy learning magic and growing, all amidst war, politics, and a greater battle for good. The Dragonlance wasn't a coming of age story, but was still centered around a key group of characters doing their part, for the greater good. There's obviously a lot more to all those books than just that, but the key here is the characters. I loved all of these books not just for their fantastical stories, but for their memorable characters. And I'm not even talking about the main characters. Some of my favorites are those other characters (Jimmy the Hand from Riftwar and Silk from Belgariad, to name a few).
Needless to say, these books shaped my ideas of writing, even down to the style I wrote. As I grew older I read more and more books, and started branching out into other genres. That was initially a difficult concept for me, but I found I actually liked other genres. Someone introduced me to Janet Evanovich and I fell in love with her hilarious Stephanie Plum books. I read Harry Potter and Rick Riordan. Yes, I even ventured into YA with Twilight. I also found a love for paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Laurell K. Hamilton was my first discovery, but I quickly found Keri Arthur, Karen Marie Moning, Patricia Briggs and others.
The more I read, and the more I diversified the types of books I read, the more my writing changed.
While I tend to write darker stories (vampires are evil bastards) it doesn't mean I don't love a happily ever after (cue candles, flowers and romance). So, how do I get my ideas? Where do they come from? Life. Books. Movies. Conversations. News. Television. Dreams. My brain.
How do artists come up with their paintings or sculptures? How do designers get their inspiration? Writers are artists. We just use words to paint our pictures.