What Weirdness Lurks in the Minds of Authors:
Some Thoughts by Ginn Hale
What does a fantasy epic set in a mythic northland and featuring shape-shifting witches, a troubled gay swordsmen and the siege of a city have to do with Macklemore’s song Thriftshop? I have no idea and yet I listened to that song over and over for two years while writing Champion of the Scarlet Wolf (Books One and Two). The books are completed and published, but I still don’t know why I found the song so inspiring. Something in it kept me pounding out bloody battles and tender admissions. Demon lords consumed immense towers and lovers fought for their lives—all while Macklemore bragged to me about his awesome second-hand scores. Flannel zebra jammies—oh yeah!
That’s the strange quality of personal inspiration, like attraction or humor, it simply works or it doesn’t.
I think every author employs different stimuli for inspiration and to maintain motivation. Often, we incorporate our inspirations into our writing processes as if invoking sacred rituals.
I know authors who don’t clean their desks until a project is completed. Others require a particular blend of tea, wear bizarre slippers, or assemble scrapbooks of various people and settings that embody some essence of the story being written. All these things are highly subjective and some are more incomprehensible than others. Only the author may possess any idea of how a picture of a spider monkey fueled the penning of an epic space opera.
Perhaps because of the happenchance nature of some of these inspirations—or possibly because of the sheer oddity of others—many authors don’t discuss the weird and random details that have brought about their books. This can give a beginning writer the sense that they should look for their inspirations in direct sources and research. (Both are wonderful means to enrich a story and characters but often fail as lasting inspiration.)
So, while a goofy tune about wicked savings garnered at a thrift store happened to strike some chord in me that evoked, a wild witch, a fallen noblemen and a city at war, I hope that other things—perhaps equally as strange—will ignite creativity and the creation of others stories for all the authors out there.
(And if something already has, please do share!)
Ginn Hale resides in the Pacific Northwest with her lovely wife and their sinister cats. She is an award winning author of LGBT fantasy and wishes one and all the very best of New Years!