Where Something Strange and Deadly came from…
It should come as no surprise that sometimes people ask me where I came up with the idea for Something Strange and Deadly. My usual response involves a rambling, convoluted explanation about planets aligning, mystical dreams, and goat sacrifices.
Well, I finally decided to just write it all out coherently.
But if I’m going to be totally honest with you, I have to admit that the idea for and gradual creation of Something Strange and Deadly was pretty rambling–I was, after all, a total NOOB to writing when I started this project.
So…where did Something Strange and Deadly came from?
Wait for it!
Wait for it!!
Yeah, it doesn’t get much more cliche than that, does it?
I dreamed my brother went missing, so I turned to a ghost-hunting team for help. The team had lots of gadgets and a cool lab, and the team’s members were of various ages/nationalities. In particular, there was an Asian girl and an African American boy.
So, I took that dream and crafted the Spirit-Hunters. Then I started adding in other elements based on what I thought would be entertaining and would also add the most conflict.
Actually, you’ll probably laugh at how UN-scientific or clever my methods were for choosing a time, a place, and a paranormal twist. And you’d definitely laugh at how many drafts I went through to get it to where it is today… Well, you’d either laugh or pat me on the shoulder and say, “Poor you.”
I’ll talk more about woefully ignorant methods for choosing the storie’s backdrop on Wednesday, but in the mean time,
You tell me: Where did you get the idea for YOUR first novel?
August 15, 2011 @ 10:16 am
YAY for the diversity of the Spirit-Hunters! Looking forward to hearing about how you developed your idea because I love getting a glimpse of other writers’ processes.
I don’t think I’ve ever come up with a story idea based on a dream. Most of my story ideas are inspired by traumatic/emotional moments in my life, haha. My current project (which probably counts as my first since I never finished any of the others) is also based on a personal epiphany, and the springboard for the premise was the game Mafia/BANG!. I thought it would be fun to have a story where everyone knew each other had hidden identities and motivations and had to figure out who was what. Not sure how big of a role that will end up playing in my story since it kind of gets interrupted by other stuff, but we’ll see!
August 15, 2011 @ 11:14 am
Whoa–I gotta say, that project sounds pretty cool! I love stories where everyone has sneaky/mysterious backstories and no one is who they seem. Good luck with it!! 😀
August 15, 2011 @ 1:55 pm
I LOVE this post! I always love learning where authors got the ideas for their stories. Seriously, it never gets old. Thanks for sharing!
As for me, Four Stones popped into my head when I was a junior in high school. I was in a Brit Lit class when the idea of two immortal teenagers who traveled through history hit me. And that was the grand total of the plot for the first draft—a whole lot o’ nothing. 🙂 The new WIP was inspired by a song title.
August 15, 2011 @ 6:43 pm
Wow! I had no idea you thought of FOUR STONES in high school–how AWESOME. No wonder that story is so very close to your heart. 😀
And now I’m super curious to know WHAT song title inspired your WIP…have you told us this??? Should I already know?
August 15, 2011 @ 4:40 pm
My first was a inspired by a compilation of things, but my second was a dream. I find it really interesting how many writers get their story ideas from dreams. 🙂
August 15, 2011 @ 6:45 pm
Yay for dreams! I think that’s so cool your second (do you mean HNE?) was from a dream too!! My very, VERY first novel (that shall never see the light of day) was inspired by my very desperate desire to go to DragonCon in ATL…so I just wrote a novel in which the main character was going. There was more to the story than that…though not much more. 😉
August 15, 2011 @ 5:53 pm
Mine was inspired by a daydream while I was at work. There are very few reasons I like my summer job, but that is definitely one of them. I was sitting there, doing frustrating manual labor, and these horrid monsters popped into my head… and just like that I was in love with my story idea. I gave myself another week to work out plot details and then started writing. It’s kind of crazy how smoothly the plot came together. 🙂
August 15, 2011 @ 6:46 pm
Very cool, Katelyn–especially since I know a bit about those HORRID monsters. I love how much daydream time is really important to writing–I daydream soooooooo much…:D
August 15, 2011 @ 6:02 pm
I am waiting for that one, special dream…
But my first book idea (that I actually carried out) came from a line in a song by Jason Mraz. As I’m usually bound to, I totally changed the book and now it involves hardly any of that first idea. Maybe that’s why it stunk so much. 😉
August 15, 2011 @ 6:48 pm
Ooooh, what Jason Mraz line??? And boy can I relate on the whole book-changing-thingy… SS&D is really different from the original idea (which was totally meant to be comedic and light in tone!!).
August 15, 2011 @ 9:16 pm
I love looking at where ideas came from.
My current WIP (so close to being done with the first draft!) came from a combination of me thinking about dark circuses, a boy dancing ballet (he looked very, very sad whenever I thought of him) and listening to the song Lacrimosa (by Kalafina) on repeat. Lacrimosa actually became that dancer’s name! It’s Latin for Weeping, which is the name of my MC’s violin–and now I’m rambling, so I’ll shut up now, haha.
August 17, 2011 @ 6:53 pm
Um, not rambling–you’re talking about COOL STUFF! I love the idea of a sad boy dancing–and what a name! Lacrimosa…it just rolls off the tongue!
August 15, 2011 @ 11:15 pm
Hmm…I had to think about this for a bit. I can’t say it was from a dream. Rats! I think To be honest. I just started writing. That is pretty boring.
August 17, 2011 @ 6:54 pm
Haha, that’s not boring at ALL, Ladonna. You’re just more creative than me because you can make ideas on the spot. Brava! I need some nudging, it would seem.
August 16, 2011 @ 10:55 pm
I think that stories that come from dreams an be really interesting and unique, as long as they are crafted correctly. Clearly, Something Strange and Deadly has been through the ringer until it is (I’m sure) amazing. Oh, and super cheers for diversity in the story! 😀
I often find that my story ideas come from music lyrics, lines from poetry, or even a short line from a different story. Although, to be honest, I’ve also had ideas that stemmed from dreams. 🙂
August 17, 2011 @ 6:56 pm
Yes, music lyrics–or just music in general–can really be inspirational. I think for me with dreams (or music or ANYTHING), I latch onto a feeling and I craft the story around that. Does that make sense? Like, in my SS&D dream, I just had to find my missing brother–and I knew the only people to help me were these special ghost-fighters. It was a really dark but exciting dream.
August 21, 2011 @ 11:02 pm
I’m a little late to the party, but I got the idea for the MS I’m querying based on a friend’s suggestion and two characters who’d been bouncing around in my head for awhile without any place to go.
Long story short, one of my oldest friends–also a writer–informed me that I should write a spy story. At the time I shook her off, until about three years later the characters who would become my two leads started shouting about how I never wrote anything involving them. One of them was a girl who’d been convicted of murder, and the other was a boy who was a gang member. Those two were the only reason I ended up writing a spy story in the first place, though the way I handled it is probably way different than what my friend expected. 🙂
August 24, 2011 @ 6:20 pm
Wow, what a cool start to a story! A convicted murderer and a gang member in a spy story? That sounds STELLAR!