As usual, I had to think really hard for something to blog about. Given that my mind is tiny and my brain cells are few and far between, I really had to stretch my limited resources.
Since writers are often asked how they get their inspiration to create (well, I'm never asked, but that's a different post), I thought that I would explain where I get my ideas. The old adage is to write what you know. (again, I know nothing, but that's yet another blog post).
So where to begin? How do I explain the inspiration process that turns a black smoke persian and some hunky dude in a jeans ad on the back of my Entertainment Weekly into a species of alien shape-shiters called The Niviane Idesha (Embracing Midnight Dec 08). Or how to explain the death of a favorite soap opera character when I was 13 some years later turning into the character of Morgan Saint-Evanston, a manic depressive alcoholic assassin who also happens to be the living embodiment of the Grim Reaper (The Keeper of Eternity). The soapie character I mooned over didn’t have a one of these characteristics, by the way.
Well, who-hoo, I'm going to share my secret: I don't know how I do it. Inspiration just happens. Right now I am in the process of creating a new shifter species for the sequel to Flesh and the Devil. Here's how the process comes together for me. Keep in mind that I'm drawing off what I actually know through 41 years of experience gained through living on planet earth:
I had no clue as to what would emerge. I had a character, Dani Wallace, introduced as Brenden’s younger sister in Flesh and the Devil. She’s young, 21, a stripper. She’s also a practicing witch. Her spells have been known to go awry. Other than that, I had no idea of what her book would be about. So…
First, I went to a website for exotic names and pulled a few names that sounded, um, exotic and got their meanings. Then I plucked the stories of the Seraphim out of Judeo-Christian literature (a being of pure light that is supposed to have direct communication with god and have a fiery burning form). So from that, I create the Jadian shapeshifters, a xenophobic very tight knit race, not really friendly toward humans whom they see as a lesser species and want little to do with.
Why Seraphim? Easy. I saw a commercial advertising John Travolta's movie Michael. Knowing nothing about the Seraphim, I went to a research site and plucked out the info about these beings that appealed to me, then recreated them as the Jadians, a species populating the earth before mankind. (After all, whom were the others Cain married into when banished from Eden? Questions like that can inspire all kinds of possibilities) Again, it was just a moment when inspiration solidified into something I could use for the book.
Next, I got the Hamlet/ Lear thing going, with an ageing father and his two sons in a rivalry as to whom should assume the throne. We all love to steal from Shakespeare, and why shouldn't I. Having just watched "Shakespeare in Love" with Gwyneth Paltrow, I was reminded of all those plays we had to read in high school. Then, they bored me senseless. Now I find they inspire a way to further my plot.
So Casedren (my hero, and I love that name) is unfit as he is unmated, but he is the oldest and due the throne if he finds a suitable mate. WHy not have dad throw out a challenge? The son who can rediscover the lost power of the Jadian gets the throne. Casedren needs a mate of not entirely mortal origins (Dani and Brenden are descendents of the Wyr bloodline) and a witch.
Now let's add some menace. Dani thinks she is being stalked by the psycho watching her dance in the club (hehe, she is) Another reason she is in danger is that she is Casedren’s perfect mate, one his brother, Cellyn, wants dead.
Since everyone one does wolves or tigers or other were-shifters, I am making the Jadian serpentine shifters. The story will center around the search for the Devani--(or celestial light/power)--through the Eye of Jadi (eye of creation). The true Jadian king and his consort can wield this power of the gods (by legend attained through sexual magic to reach into the astral realm). The ability has been lost to the Jadians for thousands of years. Casedren has chosen Dani because of her Wyr background. He then kidnaps her to be his future queen.
Being a young spoited brat, Dani reminded me of the early Princess Diana. Therefore I decided her training to become (an unwilling) Jadian queen would be based on the trainings Diana must have received when preparing to join the royal family. A very formal, very strict atmosphere would be stifling to a young, free rebel like Dani. Looks like she and Casedren are going to have quite a bit to work out!
And...that's as far as I've gotten in sketching out the sequel. Some things I have yet to clarify, but at least I've got a pretty sold base on which to start writing the book. What twists and turns are to come haven't revealed themselves yet.
So, there you have it. That’s how the plot of Dancing with the Devil (title tentative) came to be. Something from nothing, pulled out of thin air.
So anyone else care to share their quick plotting secrets?