Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Inspiration from childhood terror

One of the biggest (and sometimes scariest) questions for writers is when people wonder "where do you get your ideas?" Usually I have no answer. Sometimes even I worry about where the next one will come from. It's like magic: a spark inspires something that sticks, characters come to life and stories pour out. Or so I thought that was the answer. This week I had an epiphany... childhood terror is where my current idea came from and I didn't even know it.

I had a sleep over once when I was an early 'tween. We were doing silly (and scary) things in the middle of the night involving mirrors. It freaked me out enough that I still won't speak the name of the game (which is an adjective and a woman's name in case you want to take a guess). You say these two words while standing in front of a mirror three times and then "she" appears. I can attest that something happened that night - something freaky enough that I needed the safety of my daddy and several friends wanted to go home instead of sleeping over. I hadn't thought of this incident in decades until a month ago when a friend and I were talking about scary movies - I love them and she doesn't - which then moved to ghost stories and true life events we've experienced. I shared this incident from my childhood as an example of real-life, unexplained events. We both shivered and moved on to other topics including comparing my favorite horror and scary movies with the ones her brothers love.

In seemingly unrelated events, I had just finished writing a short story...

Fast forward to yesterday when I was having lunch with the same friend. We were discussing my short story that she is going to be a beta reader for. As I gave her a synopsis, I had a flash of serendipity. The horrible thing that came out of the mirror that night from my childhood has returned from my subconscious in the form of a science fiction short story without me even realizing it.

Being a writer is hard work. But it is SO awesome!! Especially when cool and seemingly unexplained things happen. I'm so enjoying this journey...

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