Authors get inspiration from many different sources. We asked our Fellowship of Fantasy authors for their most interesting inspiration stories.
So next time you wonder, "Where do authors get their ideas?" you'll know that the answer can be FROM ANYWHERE!
Snarky friends can be great inspiration. I asked a writing question in an author group and H. L. Burke gave me a mostly serious answer, until she ended it with, "unless the character's name is Allisatravondarestra." I laughed and joked that I would totally use the name, with no intention of actually doing so. Some time later in a moment of procrastination, I discovered that Scrivener has a name generator. It gave me Dezydery Polanski. Allisatravondarestra and Dezydery. Allie and Dez. And that's when Toil and Trouble started to form in my mind.
--Jessica L. Elliott
Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans. Lewis Wetzel, made famous by western novelist Zane Grey. What do these American frontiersmen have in common with a race of immortal warriors in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy? Well-maybe it was the tall, dark, and stoic bit. Otherwise, who can say? Inspiration is weird.
In my fantasy/comedy series, lawyers are as dangerous as wizards. I was inspired by stories of wizards binding demons to their service with written contracts. This made me think of modern law and legal contracts. If a person signs a contract then he is bound to carry it out or suffer penalties. It struck me that this was similar to the stories of wizards, so I made my lawyers a potent threat that could compel men to do things they didn't want to, like making William Bradshaw become King of the Goblins.
The short story I'm currently working on, "Monsieur Puss," is a retelling of Puss in Boots. I've always wondered why his master was so lazy in the original tale, letting Puss do all the work, so I decided to put a spin on it by making Pip (the miller's son) a daydreamer who loves to tell stories. The inspiration for this came from my childhood, during which I spent a lot more time dwelling in the worlds of my imagination than doing chores or schoolwork.
One element of my story is inspired by spending several years as a staff member on a child and adolescent psychiatric unit and, specifically, hearing hallucinations and stereotypes of those people. In my story there is a place where a mirror reveals to others what the hallucinating person sees, providing a deeper level of understanding to the supporter.
I was reading the dedication from C. S. Lewis to his goddaughter and decided I should write a novel for my niece and nephew. My exact thought was “no one else will ever see it.” Still makes me laugh considering I’m getting close to publishing book 2 in the trilogy the idea inspired.
--E. J. Willis
The majesties of nature, animals, plants, and scenery, juxtaposed with human imagination and love of creating worlds.
The inspiration for Songcatcher in Leandra's Enchanted Flute came from an actual Carolina wren who cheerily sang from a bush outside my window every day the spring I first underwent chemotherapy. I asked myself, "What if the wren could talk? What would he say?" He answered, "I need a cancer warrior's help." The story began with this sassy, loveable bird.
--Katy Huth Jones
Three years ago, I sat at my desk supervising a study hall. I watched the interaction of two boys who hated to read. In the class period before, two students stood out to me. Neither of them were the top of their class, but they bloomed while in my room. Students had to convince me the one student never spoke in any other class, while I couldn’t get her to be quiet in mine. These students all had one thing in common—they were typical rural American kids. From that, the Mythical Creatures of Myrtle Beach trilogy came about. Look for book one in September of 2018.
--Kandi J Wyatt
Much of Kiernan Kane’s existence was inspired by Gordon Lightfoot’s song, “The Minstrel of the Dawn.” I have always loved that ballad and been intrigued by the story it tells about a traveling minstrel whose eyes and face are filled with the ghosts of all the tales he carries.
--Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
A blog about all things fantasy from the elements we all love to how to write it. Posts are from our very own Fellowship of Fantasy authors.