Thursday, April 2, 2009

Where did my story idea come from?

Much like Brant stated in his last blog, many if not all of our ideas come from dreams: daydreams, visions in the night, flights of fancy. The novel I am currently writing is no exception, but it developed in a slightly different way than Brant’s did. I started with a flight of fancy, a spark of imagination, and a lot of pen and paper. Add a little bit of Socratic method, and voila! I have a story.

I remember when I was a kid watching TV there were these extremely colorful commercials for LA Girl shoes (or whatever). I really liked the jumping around and dancing that they did, which didn’t inspire me to buy shoes. They inspired me to draw. As I started drawing dancing girls with kicky shoes, I began to think ‘these would make neat superheroes’ (My drawings wander as far away from reality as my thoughts tend to, so just bear with me).

I eventually came up with what looked like a dorm full of girls all wearing leotards with long hair. I had to give them names, so I came up with a well of names based on shapes: Diagna, Squarema, Cirsara, Starimin, Diamants, Rayona. Weird names, true, but names none the less. Each girl’s leotard had their shape in white on a black leotard, later to be covered by a skirt and finished off with knee-high boots (like most superheroes).

Where did they come from? They were all from a far away planet (again, like most superheroes). Who was their leader? Their leader was Diagna, princess and future queen of their planet. I was (and to a large extent still am) a feminist then, so I created a matriarchal society, where men were pretty much excluded from holding office. Why were they on Earth? They were on a secret mission. What mission? To find Diagna’s sister. Why? Because she tried to kill Diagna (cue music).

This idea festered in my head for quite a while. Why on Earth would a sister want to kill another sister? I had a sister, and she got on my nerves sometimes, sure. But I couldn’t imagine anything she could have done so evil that I would rather live without her in my life. For a long time, I focused on the back story of the planet and the royal family, even imagining archaeological digs unearthing ancient civilizations that had presidents and patriarchal societies, which gave credence to how they live today.

The idea has been greatly tweaked since then. They aren’t superheroes anymore, but troops in military squadrons. Most of the names have changed from shaped names to something a little less weird (except Diagna, I love that name). They never came to Earth (at least not yet), but they are still looking for Diagna’s sister in this book. And that’s all I am going to tell you. My point for this blog is that ideas can come from anywhere. It is just how you push and pull at the edges that creates the interesting shapes that make up a story. Now, go draw for a little while…

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