Authors Answer 137 – Unusual Writing Inspirations

Authors’ ideas don’t just pop in their minds from nowhere. Something has to inspire them. It could be a person, a scene, an event, a song, anything. Many of these inspirations are quite ordinary. But sometimes, they can be pretty strange.

Question 137 – What was one of the most unusual writing inspirations that sparked a story idea?

H. Anthe Davis

A couple years ago, I wrote a rather large short story (short novella?) based on an idea of very boring vampires. Urban vampire fantasy is always so seduction/violence/whatever-based, and I just don’t like it…but I played several years of Vampire: The Masquerade with friends, so had ideas of other ways to write it. Which is how I ended up with a story about a vampire accountant who finds himself rescued from a vampire-on-vampire conflict over his just-destroyed clan’s wealth and resources by a glam Jewish vampire-hunter and her werewolf musician boyfriend. I really should edit and post it some day.

Paul B. Spence

Er… I’m sorry, that’s classified. I suppose that my more recent inspirations have been songs, for the most part. Sometimes dreams. Sometimes I’m just driving down the road and hear the scenes in my head. Strange, I know. I used to tell myself stories as a child, before I could read. The Remnant is based in part on a childhood story over forty years old at this point. I was a strange and disturbed child.

Jean Davis

Well, it’s not all that unusual, I suppose, but it’s been a long time coming, so I’m going with it. About twenty-five years ago, I ended up in a discussion about where god might come from while serving a customer a drink in the restaurant where I worked at the time. I’ve been mulling those ideas around ever since, and they served as inspiration for The Last God, which was just released this month.

D. T. Nova

I wrote a short-short based on an unusual search term from my blog.

Beth Aman

This one is quite funny. I was on an international flight​, tired and bored, when I looked across the aisle and saw a most peculiar man. He was dressed in a black suit that looked to be about a hundred years old, and the man himself looked to be at least a hundred and twenty. He wore a top hat and carried an old briefcase and a cane,​ and he had a long, hooked nose. He instantly became a character, and his briefcase became a method of smuggling magical artifacts. He​ was the beginning of a new novel, which is my current WIP.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I get a lot of writing inspiration from other peoples’ media (books, video games, movies, TV shows) and also from the insanity that is my dreams, all of which is fairly standard practice, I’d say. However, one of my current works in progress was inspired by a deep, relentless hatred for one of the upper-management bosses at my last job. I’m pretty sure literally everyone else on the crew hated this guy with a passion. Well one day he did something to me specifically that just enraged me beyond the telling of it, and the next thing I knew I was three chapters deep into my second zombie novel, purely because I wanted an excuse to have him torn limb from limb in prose form. A little psychotic? Perhaps. But aren’t all writers at least a little insane?

Elizabeth Rhodes

Still not uncommon? Fair enough. I once saw a design someone made of a fantasy dress with armor and raven feathers. It got me thinking of what kind of royalty or nobility would wear such a dress, which led to creating the culture of an entire fantasy civilization. All from a dress.

C E Aylett

A home made postcard on a website. The picture was of six different locks of hair and on it was written: After they fall asleep, I cut the hair from the kids I babysit. All the people in the website’s forum were saying how creepy it was and I wanted to make it un-creepy, that it was more a cry of loneliness than anything else. It produced one of my strongest pieces, though also one of my saddest and maybe even most controversial. And people who critiqued it all said it was creepy, so that was a massive fail in that sense, though the story is really strong. Oh, didn’t I say the other week I couldn’t think of a writing failure? There you go. There’s one: I failed to un-creep the creepy. But it taught me a massive lesson in setting narrative tone. I still haven’t found anywhere that will publish it, even though it often gets serious consideration.

The postcard also inspired me to write a poem about a woman who was grieving the loss of a child, but that stays in the drawer along with the rest of my poems.

Gregory S. Close

I get a lot of ideas from history and non-fiction, but the inspiration for Greyspace was pretty fun, unintentional and off-the-wall. I was in an online Science Fiction writers workshop/class with the full intent of revising and publishing an old story about the fun and consequences of relativistic travel and leap-frogging technology, but the instructor told us that he wanted to see three writing ideas. So, I added the idea I fully intended to develop, a second idea about nano-bots, and the third, which I just threw in there so I could submit it on time, was basically a joke about spaceships that couldn’t achieve Faster Than Light travel through scientific methods, but instead had to rely on a sorcerer to get them through Hyperspace. “What if instead of Scotty in the Engine Room, you had Merlin.” And that ended up being the idea we both liked the most.

Eric Wood

I wrote a story about my childhood stuffed animal (which I still have, by the way). Though the little boy in story wasn’t me. Perhaps his imagination was. Barnaby and his boy were in the grocery store with Mom and got lost. While there they took a trip around the world.

Jay Dee Archer

I have a children’s book idea that began as a single sentence that my daughter said about two years ago. It has to do with dinosaurs, everyday life, and a child’s creative imagination. Maybe it’s not a very unusual inspiration, but

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A Bit of Inspiration from InspiroBot!

I love this site! Ever heard of InspiroBot? It’s a website that uses an AI to create inspirational quotes along with pictures that may or may not be appropriate. I played around with it for a while. I wanted to see if I could get some literary quotes, and I wasn’t disappointed. I got two!

Wanna get crazy? These are the other ones that I saved. They can get pretty bizarre.

Which one was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below. Also, did you find some interesting ones on the website?

Why Harry Potter Is Important (aka Piers Morgan Is a Jerk)

Recently, J. K. Rowling celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Piers Morgan responded by calling it hogwartswash. Basically, he insulted it. But Piers Morgan is well-known for being a jerk. I made a video addressing this, and I stated why Harry Potter is important. Check it out.

A lot of people started reading because of Harry Potter. It created a whole generation of readers. Some of you reading this right now may have started reading because of it.

How important is Harry Potter to you? Let me know in the comments.

I Did a Live Stream Q&A on YouTube!

I’ve always wanted to do a live stream on YouTube. It’s been available for YouTube Partners (that’s anyone who has monetized their videos) for quite a while now, but recently, they started mobile live streaming. For my first live stream, I went the mobile path.

I was able to set it up with no problems, though the thumbnail ended up being a bit strange. It was sideways. I fixed that, but it still appears on social media sideways.

So, what I did on the live stream is a Q&A. It was my 1 year anniversary making Booktube videos earlier this month, and I asked for some questions. I answered them in a nearly 25 minute live stream. It’s different than regular videos, because you are broadcasting live. Your viewers can leave comments in the live chat, which showed up on my screen, so I could interact with my viewers. And you know what? I found it to be pretty fun. I had far fewer problems saying what I wanted to say on the live stream than I do on a regular video. I made notes for what I was going to say, which I often do for videos, but I didn’t have to worry about being perfect. On video, I edit a lot, and I do many takes. But for live stream, there’s only one take and no editing. It goes up as is. And it is available on my channel. So, here is my live stream:

But just for fun, there was another live stream earlier, which I kept unlisted. It doesn’t appear on my YouTube channel. What I did was a test, and things turned out a bit differently than expected. Consider this a blooper. Enjoy!

I hope you were able to stick around for the entire live stream. Thanks for watching! Comments are appreciated.

Week in Review – June 26, 2017

Ups and downs would define the past week. What’s positive? Feeling good about some of the things I’m doing for my YouTube channels, and I feel optimistic. What’s negative? Well, things I’d prefer to keep private, although one experience was quite interesting. But how about the blog and other things? Let’s find out.

Reading

I had a dream I was reading. Okay, I’m going to read tonight. I’ll push myself to do it!

Writing

I haven’t felt the desire this past week. Too much going on, and I have way too much on my mind.

Videos

Four videos in the past week! Three were uploaded to my main channel, including a fascinating tag about male booktubers. The other was uploaded to my science channel, which I’m getting back into doing. I have another video to upload soon.

Patreon

As I work more on the science channel, I’ll be doing a lot more on the Patreon page.

Languages

A bit of French done, but not much.

The Blog

Starting catching up on comments. I’ll be doing more to get that done this week. I plan on doing 2 months’ worth of monthly reviews. I still haven’t done May’s. I’ll do it this week before the end of the week.

Studying

Nothing.

The Next Week’s Goals

I have a big video to do this week, and that’s a Q&A for my 1 year anniversary on Booktube. But it’s going to be live streamed! It’ll be done via my phone, so I’ll be trying out mobile streaming for the first time ever. I’m curious about how it’ll do.

I also want to do a lot more Star Trek stuff on YouTube and watching. I need to get the videos caught up. I’ll also start up a Star Trek blog for my reviews and videos.

How was your week?

Star Trek S1E14 – Balance of Terror

Did you know the Romulans appeared in The Original Series before the Klingons did? Well, this is the first episode starring the Romulans, and quite possibly one of the most important episodes in all of Star Trek. This is one of the classics.

Season 1, Episode 14: Balance of Terror

Original Air Date: December 15, 1966

Stardate 1709.2

Planet: None

Featured Alien: Romulans

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Rand, Uhura, Sulu

Main Guest Characters: Romulan Commander (Mark Lenard), Lt. Robert Tomlinson (Stephen Mines), Lt. Angela Martine (Barbara Baldavin), Lt. Stiles (Paul Comi), Centurion (John Warburton), Decius (Lawrence Montaigne)

Things I Noticed

When Lt. Martine and Lt. Tomlinson were getting married, Rand appeared. While the previous episode was her last filmed episode, this one was filmed before that.

This is the first time the Romulans appear in Star Trek. It’s also the first time we see one of the major enemies of the Federation.

The display of the Neutral Zone and Romulus looked pretty cheap.

When Kirk addressed the ship about approaching the Neutral Zone, everyone looked up, as if looking at the speakers.

Spock spoke of the Romulan War, and it was interesting to note that he mentioned that they used “primitive atomic weapons” and there was no ship to ship visual communication. Of course, since Enterprise has been aired, we know they used phaser and photon torpedoes at that time and the visual communication wasn’t a technical limitation on Starfleet’s part.

Lt. Stiles seems far too free to voice his opinions. The way he acts is insubordination.

Commander Hansen of Outpost 4 said they’re a mile deep inside an iron asteroid. Not metric!

First time we see a Romulan ship cloaking.

First look at the Romulans. As we know, they look like Vulcans, and are in fact descendents of Vulcans.

The recording of the code that Spock tries to decode sounds almost like it has a pinball machine’s bells.

We learn castrodinium is the hardest substance known. I don’t think it’s ever mentioned again.

They’re approaching a comet, which has a tail, but how? They aren’t in a star system. They’re in interstellar space.

When they were firing phasers, the phaser control room had to manually fire them. This is so much like 20th century warships. But the control for phasers should be on the bridge, no need for people to operate them from another room. Also, it seems more like photon torpedoes being fired, not phasers. Oops. The Enterprise even shook a bit when the phasers fired. And they exploded by the Romulan Bird of Prey. Not phasers!

The phaser circuits are under Spock’s science station. I thought they could operate the phasers from the phaser control room. Either poorly designed, or the writers weren’t thinking how illogical this was.

The Romulan weapon can travel faster than the speed of light. So why is the Enterprise fleeing in the exact path of the weapon? Why not move perpendicular to the weapon’s path?

Rand embraced Kirk when the Romulan weapon was about to hit the Enterprise. Seems kind of inappropriate.

I never understood why the Romulans didn’t have warp capabilities. They wouldn’t be able to leave their own system.

Why can Rand just enter Kirk’s quarters without asking for his permission?

McCoy said there’s a possibility of 3 million Earth-type planets in the galaxy. I think he underestimated.

Surprising that of all people to make such a simple mistake, it would be Spock. You’d think he’d know where all the buttons were on his console.

Not sure why a nuclear warhead would cause so much damage on the Enterprise, especially with its shields. In The Next Generation, a nuclear weapon wouldn’t even bother a Federation starship.

Lt. Stiles blatant bigotry against Spock should have resulted in a reprimand.

When McCoy told Kirk that Tomlinson died, he called him “boy.”

My Impressions

Despite the long list of nitpicks (and some more general observations), this was an incredibly solid episode. We were treated to what makes Kirk such a capable Captain. Lots of battle tactics, bluffing, and trying to anticipate the other’s next move. The tension was three, and it was very well done.

The acting was quite good. This was Mark Lenard’s first appearance in a Star Trek episode, though he’s better-known as Spock’s father, Sarek. Outstanding acting by Lenard, though I think he’s better-suited as a Vulcan. William Shatner had one of his strongest performances in this episode, and I was equally impressed by Leonard Nimoy. Watching this episode was a treat.

For such an important episode, introducing the Romulans to us, we have a very compelling story and great tension. I’d rank this as one of my favourite episodes from The Original Series. I wish the Romulans would’ve appeared more often in this series.

Verdict

★★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Do you think it’s one of the best episodes of The Original Series? Let me know in the comments section below.

Why Aren’t There Many Male Booktubers? The Jay Dee Show 33

I did some more frequent video publishing in the past week, but not quite what I used to do. The science videos have returned, as well! I posted 4 videos this week on 2 channels.

On my main channel, I posted a little less than I expected, but I did get 3 videos up! Let’s check them out.

First up is a Japan travel vlog, but it’s more about culture than anything a tourist would see. In fact, unless you’re invited to a funeral, you won’t get to see this! I talk about the 49th day of the traditional Buddhist funeral in Japan.

Next up is a new phenomenon on Booktube. Jayesh Chhaya opened up the topic about male booktubers. Where are they? Why aren’t there as many males booktubing as females? He created the Male Booktuber Tag, and I did it.

I continued my regular Authors Answer series on video with #32, all about writing controversial topics.

On my science channel, I uploaded 1 video, a video I’d recorded way back in April. Yeah, so it’s a bit old. I’m still dressed for cold weather. It’s the continuation of the A to Z Challenge, this time the letter E. It’s all about Jupiter’s moon Europa!

I can’t say how much I’ll be uploading over the next week, as I don’t know what’s going on with my job. It really depends on that. But I will be doing the Q&A for my 1 year anniversary on booktube, and hopefully a new Star Trek video. Definitely more Japan videos, though! And coming in the next day or two (maybe even today) is the next science video. Keep checking back and subscribe to my channels!

Which video did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments section.