This is something I always hear. People telling how they get inspiration for their work, or asking how they get inspired to do something. And my first response was always "I don't know, it just happens." But then I thought to myself, and I figured out a few. So these are my thoughts on inspiration.
The first of my ways to get inspired is collaboration. And I'm not even talking about working with other big names or anything, let me explain. I have a little cousin named Rachel who lives in another province. I met her once when she was 2. I never saw her until 7 years later, so perhaps maybe 4 times in our lives we've met. And yet, she reminds me of myself when I was younger, a kindred spirit (at least that I think, I don't remember what I was like at 10, but I digress.)
The point is, every time I see this cousin, we sit around in the basement and come up with story ideas. One time was about a rat in London who had some frogs as an arch-nemesis. I went there for Christmas and we brainstormed about a high school story where a person moves to Canada from New York and has to fit in and find some joy (which, as someone who moved to another city in high school, isn't easy). Will anything come of it? Who knows. The important thing is that we named a character Griselda (oh, and I guess that we had ideas and motivated each other).
Another way that I become inspired is by things I witness. Now I know what you are all thinking. "But Kayne, everyone is inspired by things they see." Yes, but I take my inspiration by the dreams I have. And boy, some of those dreams are insane. Most of my dreams, I cannot remember, save for the fact that they were amazing.
But I did recall a dream I had a while ago. In it, I went to a party but the next day I ended up back at home. Unfortunately, I made it home without my car and no idea how I got to the party. Since it was Sunday and I had to work on Monday, I had one day to uncover this mystery. Joining me was my brother Kareem and my cousin Kamryn. What ensued was the most fever dream thing I have ever witnessed, including both entirely new geographical terrain, a cow eating my shirt and the fact that I could fly.
That last one actually sounds quite amusing. I think that I'm going to pen that one out one of these days. It probably won't amount to much. But the main takeaway of that is that I now have the material. And I might be able to show Kareem and Kamryn one day and they can look at me and wonder what exactly goes through my head.
So yeah, those are the main ways I find inspiration for my work (Resurrection was the number 1 with my little brother Korey when I was young, then it evolved). Honorable mention goes to sitting by water (river, lake, ocean, stream etc). What do you think of my inspiration ideas? What ways do you people find inspiration? Let me know in the comments. Until next time.
Stories have their usual set up. The protagonist does his thing and beats the antagonist in the end. It’s why people read, to see the happy ending. But what about the stories where the ending isn’t so happy?
I remember back when I was younger. I happened upon this thing called Zeta Gundam (Spoilers ahead). It shocked me because people kept dying. And at the end of it’s story, most of the main characters were either dead, M.I.A. or in the case of the protagonist, in a coma. And…I was oddly intrigued.
That started a whole thing of me wondering why so many stories have happy endings. And I went out of my way to try and find more books about the heroes losing. Villians have always been the more interesting to me, their goals, what turned them in the first place, whether they do what they do is out of a greater good. It was all interesting.
And indeed, when I was writing an early draft of my novel, this translated to that. In the end, I think about 66% of my cast of characters were killed off. One of my beta readers caught this and said to me that maybe a few more should live, at least for a few more chapters.
And then I started thinking about it harder. Too many of the things I see advertised today or in the stores have all the signs of modern stories. Oh, they’ll set up the scene fabulously and the protagonist will get dragged into the dirt, but in the end, they’ll get the bad guy and their love interest will return to them. All their friends and allies (well, except maybe one that has to do a heroic sacrifice) will be there to see the new future.
That’s all well and good, it’s a formula, and you can’t really stray to far from a formula. But at least for me, I’d love to see something that subverts the norm and throws me for a loop. I believe I heard of a story where the main character dies halfway in and the story picks up years later with his daughter. That’s some twist of fate stuff right there.
Now, you wonder why I bring this up. Could I be secretly easing everyone into the theoretical blood bath that is the sequel to Resurrection? It’s entirely possible, but you’ll have to wait and see haha. No, this is merely something I am quite interested in. I wished to write my thoughts on the topic and send out the question to everyone. What other books follow the pattern I described. Who is the modern day “Kill em all Tomino (Yoshiyuki Tomino, famous for most of his works where much of the main cast is killed off in the grand finales)?
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have any suggestions for me to read where the endings aren’t always happy? Leave them in the comments and let me know. Thanks for reading.
So one of the things that people have been asking me since October of 2017 when I started the final push to finish Resurrection and publish it is this; how can you afford to work part time?
Well, the obvious answer is that I went to college and became an Early Childhood Educator and I live exceptionally frugally. But the real answer is slightly more complicated, and hopefully more entertaining to hear about.
Somewhere in around 2011 or 2012, I can’t really remember (somewhere in the middle of my twenties) I became a workaholic. I worked all hours, I never took any vacation and had it all paid out, and I even did extra work outside of my normal work hours. I rarely ate, and when I did, it was whatever was on sale or discounted. All to get a little extra coin. Why? Because I had this dream to buy my own house.
Admirable goal, sure. But it started to have an effect on me. People always said I was kind of prickly, but I liked to think of myself as pretty jovial. But not anymore. I was tired and the smallest things would break me. I would get into arguments with co-workers and it would explode into a huge thing. I started dreading going into work. I even got suspended for insubordination (yes, insubordination). Depression started to kick in and I stopped seeing friends and family, not wanting to put on a facade in front of them with a smile.
And then it came to me. This story, that I had been writing on and off for years, was about halfway done. I was at the end of my rope. I petitioned my work for time off so I could finish it. They declined, they needed me (those bastards, but I did feel valuable I guess). But they did allow me to go part time. And I used that time to write and do all the research. And by February 2018, I was up there at that podium giving a speech and my book launch.
And good lord, was it ever cathartic. It was like I was on the most powerful drug ever known to man, and then it was blasted by the second most powerful drug to become the omni-drug. What I’m trying to say is, it’s a pretty hard feeling to replicate. And when my second novel comes out (one of these days, hopefully, still working on it), I will experience said high again.
And in the end, I decided to use that blood money I made in my earlier years as a sort of net. I love what I do, working with children is absolutely worthwhile and every time I see a small child smile, it reminds me that I’m dead inside and I can at least siphon off some of their happiness by proxy (lol). I enjoy it, and they at least all seem to like having me around to my knowledge. And who knows, maybe I can be a mentor to one of the young aspiring writers.
But taking time to write (and propose and market and be social media, something I didn’t know about the first time going in. How naive I was) is also important to me now. Meeting illustrators and planning a children’s book, penning a short story about a revolution and chasing that ever present sequel, it’s fabulous. So yes, part time Early Childhood Educator, part time author. Will I ever take one over the other?
And the honest answer is, no. Even if I bomb my writing career into the floor, I’d still find ways to get my words out there. And if I were to make it big as an author, what would I do without those happy faces asking me to tell them stories at the daycare (preferably not the ones about the Demons I’d guess).
I had to think a bit about what to write this week here, and this one was a toughie. I kept a lot of things to myself, so thanks for reading. Until next time.
Earlier this month, I was informed of a contest for a short story. I brought it into work to get some of the children I work with in on it, but I decided to try as well. And thus, November was a month of trial and error for me as I started a brand new story. And boy, what a month.
What started out as one thing quickly changed to branching paths in the story, and from that, several different endings. Suddenly, I had many different tabs open and each one had a different path. But what really got me back to form was when one of my students asked to read it and another told me about the one she was working on.
So, not wanting to look like a novice for these kids, I sat down and picked one idea and went from there, starting over entirely from scratch. And I am happy to say that I have finished penning my newest work. Of course, now comes the editing and revisions and all that fun stuff, but “Aria of a Revolution” is otherwise written.
I feel pride for everything I write, but this one takes a special place in my heart. It’s a different form from anything else I’ve done, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone, eventually. Until then, please look forward to it.