Myth Mugging

Anytime you admit that you’re a writer in public, you get a few standard questions.

“Have you been published yet?” or “Have you written anything I might’ve read?”

“I’ve always wanted to write a book–here’s an idea. You write it and we’ll split it, 50/50.”

“Where do you get your ideas from?”

“Have you ever met [insert favorite author]?”

I’ve gotten them all over the years, and I have my standard answers–but the one this blog will center around is the “Where do you get your ideas from?”

To someone I’m just chatting casually with, my answer usually is “From living. There’s a zillion questions I see, hear, experience, wonder about every day, so there’s lots of material for any given story.”

Which is true, but not true.

I write novels, generally. There are a gazillion (which is far more than a mere zillion, y’know) ideas that have to go into every novel. A book is more than a plot, after all. All the characters, their relationships with each other and all the other people they deal with, the world and their reaction/opinions to it, society, customs, even food, drink and where they sleep at night (if at night)–those all take ideas, sparks of inspiration from just living everyday.

But the main story idea, the thing that actually births the book and makes me want to put the words on the page in the first place–I get that by mugging something.

There’s a saying: English takes other languages into back alleys and mugs them for spare words. That’s kinda what I do to get main story ideas. I lure unsuspecting myths, legends, bits of history into back alleys and mug them for ideas for Fantasy stories. From my very first novel to the stories I write today and plan to write in the near future.

I even think it’s rather fun.

I’ll get more into that process as the blog progresses, probably along with other things that spark my interest, but that’s what I want to focus on for now. It should be enlightening (at least to me since I don’t really think such things through very often), and entertaining for whoever’s reading along.

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