Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

Every body knows the unicorn (or should at least). A fabled, mythical creature, so elusive it’s said to be nearly impossible to catch. The horse-like animal, with one long horn protruding from its skull, is also said to take a liking to young women and will cautiously approach them.

I wanna know where my unicorn is.

“The Unicorn Idea” is that elusive, impossible to find idea for the perfect story.

You see, for the last few days, I’ve been feeling that my work has been too commercial, to stereotypical. Every story seems the same, and I can’t  find the factor missing from my literary equations (stories). I’m searching for that eccentric twist, that special “thing” (because I don’t know what it will be) that will make my story stand apart from the others.

What I’m looking for is something new, something groundbreaking, and as of yet, I haven’t found it. I felt that I was close last night, watching the sappy, dramatic, and hormonal “Teen Wolf” series on TV. I had this idea (based loosely off events from the episode) for a story. It was intriguing, but not enough to ignite a fire beneath my pen. While it felt “good”, it just didn’t feel great. I think I’m going to have to shelve the idea for now.

I’m not sure what exactly is driving me to look farther and deeper for ideas that may expand or stray from the known genre of horror, but I think it may come from a subconscious need for a challenge. With my work finally getting back on track (I finished a couple of stories in the last week and am ever nearer to finishing Lashine), and a couple of stories ready to be sent out (the market’s lookin slim right about now, a lot of magazine’s websites I checked out said that they were closed to submissions for the foreseeable future), I’m feeling less stimulated than I had in the past. This is a good thing, meaning I’m becoming more comfortable with the level I’m at with my writing, but at the same time, it’s almost like I’m a sixth grader in second grade English class.

Is this making sense to anyone?

I feel that the ideas I’ve been working on, are, for lack of better word, stale. The cause is almost glaringly obvious; my lack of leaving the house for the last month or so. Generally, we’ve got a little extra cash, and I’m able to go to town twice in a week for groceries and errands, and while I’m out I people watch, listen to conversations, and generally look for inspiration in the public. But Ty’s just been laid off, and money’s tight. I don’t get out as much as I do, and it’s likely that staring at the same four walls, day in and day out, is making my mind stagnant. When I’m cruising on a story, this wouldn’t be a problem, I could stay home all month and not worry about it, so long as I’ve got the inspiration to work on something. But between projects I begin to feel restless.

I suppose this could be some form of writer’s block, but it doesn’t quite feel like writer’s block normally does. Generally, when I’ve got writer’s block, I totally lack of drive to write. It seems I have nothing to say, and that no one would listen any way. This, is different. This is more like the drive to write is there, but the spark is missing. Again, I’m not sure what it is, and the more I write about it the more it’s starting to bother me(yes, I’m ridiculous), like I know “it” is out there, I just have to find it.

Today I think I’ll go for a walk, try to clear my head, and maybe I’ll work on the “Alice In Wonderland” inspired story. I’ve been wanting to write this story for months now, about a young author who goes for a walk to help with writer’s block and finds herself lost in a strange world. She has to fight her way home, narrowly missing an untimely demise at every turn. The writer will finally emerge from the realm, victorious, and return home to her husband, only to find that something doesn’t quite feel right (at which point there will be a realization that she never escaped the other world, and she never made it home). While I’ve got the basic story line plotted out, the details still elude me. It needs that spark, that something different to set it apart from other similar works. Maybe I’ll fall into another world, or at least get an idea as to how it would happen, or what this other world would be like.

All in all, I’m searching for something more, something as of yet unknown, that will add that extra life to my next story, and help it to stand out from the others. Any of you ever have a similar problem? Did any of you ever find your “unicorn idea”?

Comment, like, subscribe, if you want. I love hearing from you guys and hope you are all doing well (especially with the apocalypse nearly upon us; haha).

 

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Everyone has heard a legend or two in their day. Probably more, without realizing it. But does anyone realize just how important these stories are for our society?

Besides cautionary tales, legends have been passed down for years to explain the unexplainable, something we as humans are constantly trying to conquer. Before science, before math, and way before technology as we know it, legends were the stories of our origins. When mankind looked up at the stars and wondered at our own importance in this huge, sometimes frightening world of ours, the legends passed down by our ancestors were there to comfort and to give importance to our time spent here.

While legends have become slightly outdated in recent years, due to the ever shrinking world around us, they can still prove useful. I am constantly looking for fresh takes on old legends, and monsters I’ve never heard of.  They prove useful for story ideas.

I’m a big fan of cryptozoology. I follow the Big Foot and Dogman legends through online research, as well as documentaries, TV shows, etc. Once while watching a documentary in which a group of men searched for Big Foot, these men found someone with an extraordinary story. It captivated me, and I paused the show in order to write down the basic story line of what this man claimed happened to himself and his friends.

I kept the outline in my notebook for about half a week, before I’d managed to re-work it into a masterpiece of my own. The ending piece is a story that I feel I can be quite proud of.

While the story might still be barely recognized by its originator, it’s unlikely, being that I changed the characters and some details. I titled it: The Colorado River Beast. Once I print out a manuscript, I’ll be ready to send it out, and I guess we’ll see what the magazine’s fiction editor will think of it.

I’ve also done this with a legend that originated from Lake Erie, of the Great Lakes. There is the story of a black dog that fell overboard during a storm, rather than help their canine friend, the crew made sport of the dog trying to navigate the rough waters. Finally the dog died, and ironically, its corpse ended up stuck in the locks the ship tried passing through, making them stop to remove the body. Later, the dead dog supposedly came back to the ship, leaping on board, running across to the other side where it jumped off into the water. Shortly after the ship sank. It’s said that the dog will appear on board a ship that is going to run into trouble or sink.

I loved this legend, and managed to work it into the story of an old man named Johnny who claimed to have known and befriended the black dog before its death and revenge. The narrator tells the story in his own quirky way as he cooks dinner for a group of hungry fishermen onboard a large fishing boat.

This story turned out wonderfully as well, of course with my own details and changes added in. It’s also just about ready to be sent out. I was thinking about re-working a bit of the end, but I’m still not sure about that yet.

And you all (should) know another legend I have written about. The local, Michigan legend of Dogman. My story, titled (comically) Not Another Dogman Story (Well, it was supposed to be funny any way.),  is much more loosely based on the legends and stories I’ve heard. The structure and storyline of this one was all me. However this one I wasn’t quite content with. I’d written it first on Facebook, wanting to share some of my work with some friends and family. It took me a while to finish it, and in the end I’d written it in three sections. When I transferred the story onto my WordPress account, I made a few slight changes, mostly in spelling and grammar. Not Another Dogman Story was written for instant publication, online that is. I’d never had any intentions of selling this one, since no publication would want to run a story already easily available online.

The reason I’m writing this is because just yesterday I did hours of research on legends, trying to find some inspiration (not that I really need any, I’ve got stories to re-write and edit still, but I’m always on the look out for new ideas and fresh inspiration).

I found a few stories the piqued my interest. Like that of the Mole People, living in the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels beneath Manhattan. They’re not mutant freaks like everyone thinks, just homeless folks and outcasts of society who have come together to create their own communities, far away from the abuse and rapes that often happen in the homeless shelters in a large city like Manhattan.  There was also a true story about a family of about 200 people, all descendants of a prostitute that settled in the New York area after leaving Europe. It was said that due to exposure to syphilis, this woman passed on a deformity that showed in nearly every of her male descendants, fused fingers and toes, giving what has been called a “claw-like” appearance. This entire family was shunned, and after years of this, they banded together and made a pact not to marry or have children, so that they could not pass on their deformity. In short, they chose to exterminate their entire family, and not a single descendant of that family tree is alive now (or so the website told me). Today, something so extreme would never happen, due to advances in surgeries and such, but a period story could be brewing in my future with this one. I found it intriguing. These stories however, while strange, are actually true. I found them on a website about weird but true things in America, I wish I could remember it so I could cite it.

Any way, I just wanted to share with you all how legends are not only important, but invaluable to the horror/fantasy fiction writer.

Know any great legends? Share, please. I’ll try to think of a good one I can remember and post it in the comments. I’d love to hear some new ones though. And who knows, the one you post might end up in a story of mine.