Because I write outside, and I'm in Texas, I normally come in around noon or so, as it is WAY to hot to keep going. I dilly dawdle around, checking email, Twitter, etc. I put on Spongebob or whatever I have recorded on the DVR. I love my DVR. And I wait. For what? The sun to go down and leave my garage, where I have set up my writing station. I got sunburned for going out again too early in the evening, and its all on the left side of my body from the way the sun slants in. If I read a book, its in a genre totally out of my usual zone, and I especially steer away from genres that my WIP would fall under.
A while ago, I couldn't get into rereading my all time favorite books, and I couldn't figure out why. I mean, I reread these books so many times, I have 2 copies of each. But then it hit me: those two books, along with several others, influenced my decision to write the idea I had floating in my head. It felt wrong to read something that affected me enough to start me writing, because I have four major influences on my current WIP. If I were to reread any of those, the delicate balance I've maintained throughout my writing would tip, and any readers would think "oh, its just like this other book thats really famous."
Please don't get the wrong idea. I'm not rewriting or writing more story to those books - duh, thats plagiarism. But reading them helped develop my own WIP. Wondering how I'm justifying this to myself? Read on.
All my story ideas come from books or movies. When I was young(er), I would read a book or see a movie, then imagine myself as the lead character, all sexy and skinny, usually kicking butt and taking names. But at sometime during high school, I was imagining myself into a character in a movie, and I got to a point were I thought "But I wouldn't do that. I would do this..." I began reworking the whole movie to play out the way I would act and react, changing it almost completely. It was then that I realized I don't want to limit myself to how a character is portrayed, but I don't want to ruin the flow of the original. Ever since then, with any book or movie that strikes a cord in me, I imagine an extra character for myself, ensuring that it wouldn't totally change the main plot.
And that is how I came up with my current WIP. I questioned something that was bothering me after reading one of my old favorites**, and did a quick draft of fan fiction about it. I realized my fanfic was too much memory and not enough action, and went through several beginnings (7 or 8 total) before settling on one that I felt worked the best, at least for a first draft. Then I left it for a bit, read some other things in the same genre but far in feel from that first one. I decided to play with using a species in my story, and set my world building and time around that. A surprise divine aspect popped up when I began longhanding my WIP, most likely an influence from The Chronicles of Narnia, the first books I ever bought with my own money.
Since I started my WIP, I have refrained from reading, watching, and searching anything involving those works. I only google to ensure a characters name isn't actually in any of the other books, unless its a very minor character of mine. I had to change the name of one of my characters names to something else, because he was important enough that fans of one book might notice the familiarity. If I search for something to help move my writing along, I skip any finds that coincide with those books.
Without reading and watching those books and movies, I would never have developed what I believe is a truly unique work. I'm still in the pre-first draft (meaning my journals of longhand), but when I finish that, its on to fleshing out, revising, and editing as I type it out into the first draft. More world building, character building, popsicle stick building (no, seriously. I need it to work out a battle sequence), mapping, ensuring no one and nothing is too "oh, hey its just like so and so from this famous book", and developing a script and language for my species.
I have a somewhat bloated list of ideas for future WIP's, and all of them have come from some combination of books or movies. All of them will get worked into ideas all their own, with characters unique to the story. (Well, hopefully anyway.)
**BTW, I don't mention what books influenced the actual writing because, well, I'm stupid that way. I'm scared people will figure out the exact premise of my WIP and make it all worthless, or take my idea, write it, submit it and publish it before I can finish writing mine. Yes, I am both shallow and insecure. Thanks for reminding me. (ps - that was all said in the "haha funny yeah?" voice. I don't want to offend anyone)
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