“Writer, where do ideas come from?”
“The stork (muse) brings them.” “They’re from out in the cabbage patch.”
Seriously, I get asked this question quite a bit, as do other authors. The answer is a little tricky. I can’t speak to anyone else’s experience. But for me?
They come from everywhere, and nowhere, and somewhere in between.
For me, characters have a life of their own. They are people. As such, they have their own unique foiables, strengths, idiosyncrasies. I do NOT, EVER base a character directly on a living human being. It’s cheating. (It’s also a great way to invite a particularly nasty lawsuit.)
That said, you can’t help but have your experience of humanity influence your work.
My sister is allergic to bananas. The mere smell of them makes her nauseous.
*Poof* Celia hates bananas. (Not an allergy, but there you go.)
I’m looking through a catalog and see this really awesome cross.
*Poof* the Eldritch Cross came into existence.
If you’ve had a broad experience of life, you have a lot of personal history to draw from. If you’ve read a lot, seen a lot of movies, and generally just keep your eyes open, you’ll have food for your imagination.
You’ve seen a sunset. Could you describe it to a blind person? You’ve tasted chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven with milk. Can you remember how it felt, tasted, smelled, how much you enjoyed it? Did you burn your tongue?
Experience gives the muse the building blocks to work with. But IMAGINATION gives a writer the blueprint to build with them—or should.
I have had my characters fight serial killers in my books. I have not experienced it. (THANK YOU GOD!) But I can imagine it.
I’ve had zombies in one of my books, and fantastical characters. They came from my imagination. But the reactions of the human characters TO the killers and zombies and fantastical creatures? THOSE come from my observations of human nature.
My characters are flawed, imperfect. The people they deal with are equally imperfect.
Celia Graves, the main character in the Blood Singer series, was bitten and partially turned by a vampire. She is now an Abomination. As a result she has to deal with a lot of fear and prejudice on the part of other human beings who see those pesky fangs and think “MONSTER.” It’s reasonable for them to be afraid, and reasonable for them to act on their fear. It is also reasonable for Celia to be hurt, offended and frustrated by their reaction and embarrassed if they spray her down with holy water in public and/or generally make a scene.
So, where do ideas come from? Life.
And when the creative well is running dry, and writer’s block happens?
For other people it’s BIC (BUTT IN CHAIR). For me? Generally, writer’s block is a sign that I’m weary, and/or sick. I need rest, to recharge, and take a big fat dose of LIFE. I need to eat those cookies, watch that sunset, shoot pool, play air hockey, or go to a movie. I need to walk the dog, talk to family and friends, and feel loved. A day or two of DOING things and I’ll relax, and my mind will spit out the solution to whatever problem was blocking me from my subconscious as a reward.
I’m a big believer in hard work. I try to write every day. (And I usually do it at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. since that’s when I can fit it in to “real life.”) But in order to write about life, you have to LIVE. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when the deadlines loom, and the bills have to be paid. But it’s worth remembering. No artist wants their muse to go on strike. (But if she does, you might try looking in that cabbage patch.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cat Adams is the joint pen name of C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp who began writing as a team in 1997. They quickly learned that their individual talents in writing created a dynamite combination in historical and paranormal novels! Cathy resides in the Texas Hill Country with her husband, dogs, cats and 24 Boer/Spanish cross goats! Cie is currently relocating to the Denver metro area with her dog and cats. They are USA Today bestselling authors with their Sazi and Thrall series and the much-lauded Blood Singer series.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren. Not every bride needs a bridesmaid who can double as a bodyguard. But Celia’s cousin Adriana is no ordinary bride: she’s a Siren princess, and she’s marrying the king of a small but politically important European country. She’s getting death threats from fanatics who want to see the whole Siren race wiped out—including Celia herself, who is half Siren. Luckily, Celia is on duty when a trip to a bridal salon is interrupted by an assassination attempt, so everyone survives. When Adriana returns to the Siren homeland to try to prevent a coup, Celia is free to hunt for the terrorists and the vile mage who is helping them (while keeping her eyes open for the perfect maid-of-honor dress). Assuming the bride and groom both live to see their wedding day, this will be one royal wedding no one will ever forget.
Tor is giving away ONE (1) copy of The Eldritch Conspiracy to ONE (1) lucky winner
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This giveaway is International and ends 20th February 2013
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
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