One of thing I find most fascinating about novel or stories is where the author got their inspiration. What made them think to write about that specific topic? What made them ask the question the story is trying to answer? Why did they choose to write an adventure tale or a romance? Who inspired the character traits of the protagonist? Is the story close to them or is it them trying to work out issues in their own life?
When I write I find inspiration from a number of things but mostly it comes from me asking, What If? . I ask the question and then use my writing to explore the number of avenues the story could go down.
My short story collection, Is There More? consists of a number of stories over a span of years. Each one has their own unique story about how it came to life. I thought it would be fun to write a post about where the inspiration from each story came from. I will give a short summary of the story and then a bit about how I came up with the idea or why I wrote the story.
If you find this interesting and want to read the stories for yourself be sure to check it out on Amazon, either as a paperback or ebook. And if you do read it and enjoy it, a review is always appreciated!
Always Been Ours
Always Been Ours is a cautionary tale about what happens when you abandon the books and stories that created you. It is a reminder to never forget how important reading and books can be for your everyday life, especially for a writer.
This story is the oldest in the collection. It was written when I was a junior in college. It was written (at least the first draft) as part of an assignment: write a short story. That was all we were told.
I wanted to write a story about books whispering inspiration to a writer. I wanted it to be about the creative process but as I wrote I could not get the idea of the books being angry out of my head. Every time I wrote their voices, it was with an edge to it. If I wrote them helpful and inspiring it felt forced and flat. I finally gave in and this story was born.
This was the first time I remember a story writing itself. I always heard authors talk about that feeling but never quite understood it until this tale. I could not write anything else, this was the story that had to be told.
This was also the first time I wrote a story and someone outside of my family was intrigued by it. I remember my professor (my favorite throughout my college career) writing the note “Intriguing”. He wanted to hear more and it made me want to write more, to keep working on this story until I got it just right; which took about 3 years.
So Many Faces
This story tells the tale of love in its many different forms. A number of people tell about their love lives through letters.
This story started off as an idea of writing a letter. That was all that I wanted to do. I didn’t know exactly what the letters would be about, just that I wanted to write a story in letter form. As I wrote I figured out that I wanted to write it about love.
I know that love comes in many forms and different ways throughout a romantic relationship. I played with the different types of love and how relationships work. My favorite is the joking, teasing, fun time with one another.
From the people I have spoken to this is a favorite. I was surprised because I didn’t think this one would strike a chord with as many people as it did. Many liked the different format and I definitely will keep that in mind for future stories.
I Like a Good Fight
In this world there is an app that is designed to help you find your soulmate, or The One. You send in some of your blood and it uses it to find your match. Our protagonist doesn’t buy into it.
I wrote this one because I keep seeing apps and dating services. I am someone who doesn’t quite like the idea. I am cautious of it, mostly because you don’t know who exactly you are meeting.
I wanted to explore the idea of an app maybe actually working. I modeled the protagonist after myself. I wanted to explore my attitudes towards the idea and see if there was a way I could be okay with it. It was fun to think about what I would want from a relationship and how if you give someone a real shot, it may actually work out.
A writer is trying to get some words down onto a paper about a story. They are having problems getting a scene to work, not because they can’t find the words but because one of the characters will not stay where they belong. It is a story about an author fighting with their story to get it become what it is destined to be.
I wrote this one because I liked the idea of exploring a writer fighting with a character. I always see tweets and comments from writers talking about how they can’t get a character to behave. They want them to do one thing but they won’t. Or they try to give them a certain personality trait but it doesn’t work. Writer’s all know that struggle and I thought it would be fun to personify it.
A woman calls a friend desperate for help. She is afraid of what she has found in her home but is also reluctant to do anything about getting rid of the problem. Her friend helps but we learn that sometimes helping others is an excuse to not help yourself.
This one was actually inspired by a song lyric, “I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed/Get along with the voices inside of my head.,” from “The Monster” By Eminem featuring Rihanna. I heard the lyric and instantly thought about skeletons in a closet and what if the demons we carry with us weren’t scary? What if we could make them friends instead? What happens then?
I used this as a way to explore the idea of inner demons and what they mean to different people. I also wanted to explore the idea that our inner demons are only scary if we let them be.
A woman and a couple are arguing in a doctor’s office. The woman’s boyfriend is dying and there is only one way to save him. A treatment that will cure him but will destroy everything they have built. Is it worth it?
This story was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend. We were talking about how easy it was to fix a computer by resetting it. We joked about how it would be nice to be able to reset ourselves back to a point where things were going as we wanted them to go. I took that conversation and ran with it.
What if you could reset a human being? What happens after the procedure? Is all that time you take a way really alright to lose? Is it okay because someone gets a second chance?
A couple is arguing. They are at impasse in their relationship and the woman begins to see that what they have is toxic. She wants to leave but her boyfriend holds what she believes is the most important thing in her life. Can she walk away from him and start new? Or is she trapped forever because of what he possesses?
This story was inspired by the idea of keeping your dreams in a box. I have heard people talk about writing down dreams or aspirations and putting them somewhere where you can find and read them later. What if that box could hold literal dreams? What if someone stole it or held is hostage?
Can dreams be reworked to fit the new circumstances? Or are they shot because they revolve around one person or one place in time? What can you do to save those dreams?
A call comes in for a heart repair. A higher up is given the task because it is unlikely the heart can be fully put back together. A lesson is taught and a secret is revealed.
This is my favorite story in the collection and one that I have gotten a number of compliments on. This one came about from a song title, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” by One Direction. The song came on my Pandora and I found myself asking, where do broken hearts go? If you could physically have your broken heart somewhere, where would it be? What would do you be able to do if someone could hold it and mess with it? How would that change the way we handle broken hearts, despair or break ups?
This story was one I read at writers group I was apart of for a short time. I knew it worked when everyone was shocked by the end and it was a stunned silence. Then I got some great feedback and praise about it. It was a story I only rewrote a few times but it was one of those stories that again wrote itself.
A choices is presented to a young woman. A choice she has no idea how to make. A choice she has to make. She chooses and the world come crashing down around her.
I love “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels. I also love games that change based off your choices. I like the idea of being able to chose where the story goes. In this story I wanted to explore that idea on a higher level.
What if your life was dictated by a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel? What if you could do nothing unless you made a choice? What if you chose and found out you were going to lose someone or die yourself? How do you go on? How much control over your life do you truly have?
That is a glimpse into what inspired by stories. I hope it gave you an idea of what to expect in my collection. If any of the stories sparked interest or intrigued you, the collection is available on Amazon.