Tag Archives: ruins

Happy with my output

Sundays are usually wasted days for me. As an example, I always call my parents on Sundays. We chat for about an hour, and I won’t sacrifice this time for anything.

Old What’s Her Face is also off today, so that means distractions and noise. She’s had the Harry Potter marathon on since last night and it started again first thing this morning. As much as I love these films, I’ve seen them hundreds of times and wanted something else.

I decided to go into another room and pick at my WIP. I also tried an experiment with dubious results. I’ll experiment a bit more, then it could lead to a post for Story Empire one day. It involves ambient noise while I write.

It started off with me monkeying with Alexa one day. There wasn’t a lot of choice there, but Staci Troilo set me up with an amazing site. I tried it today, but the noise goes off as soon as my phone darkens. This led me to YouTube, and that was more functional. The trick is to pick something and not get caught up surfing for several hours.

I settled upon two different “songs” for lack of a better term. One involved a peaceful meadow, the other was designed for inside a tomb.

The meadow is where I started writing, and I like what I came up with. Serang found the ruined city as planned in my storyboard. She uncovered the secrets I plotted out, but how she went about it was magical.

She’s discovered the lost temple of the Cartomancers. The one that was burned in the history of a previous war. This gives me a great tie back to the original Lanternfish book, and it works because we’re back on the original continent.

It turns out there is still one hidden storeroom that was not destroyed in the first war. Serang uncovered this by playing her flute. She noticed that a semi-circle of standing stones were placed in exactly the same configuration as the holes on her flute.

Musical stones are a real thing, so mine work as a kind of lithophone when someone grinds on them. This lithophone required multiple people, but it opened a hidden door to a small treasure trove of the intellectual variety.

It gives me a great tie back to Mule, his parents, and even the goblins who used to live in these lands. I’ll be circling back to this in the denouement phase of the story.

I also spent extra time to detail this area. This is a special place and so I added some fantasy creatures and details to make that apparent. I created linen birds, a ribbon bird, and even a clown spider. The spider also took Serang back to her youth when orchid mantises were fascinating to young monks. (Orchid mantises are also real.)

It only came to 2500 words, but I really like them. I need to go over it several times, but at least they exist. Wreck of the Lanternfish is about 32,000 words right now. I mention this, because it needs a big denouement. Both James and Serang have a couple of gigantic things to accomplish and I’m getting closer to those. My married cons have one big one to pull off, but it isn’t on par with the others. (Important to the story, though.)

I should probably wrap the war up somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 words. That will give me plenty of room to change the world and give everyone’s favorites a conclusion of some kind.

I’m sorely tempted to go back in my cave and write more, but I’m off tomorrow. I’ll start my day by going over what I just produced. There is an opportunity to drag out the discovery and that could be helpful. Best to look with fresh eyes.


Filed under Writing

The Idea Mill #9

I’ve gathered enough articles for another Idea Mill post. These are the little tidbits that lubricate my imagination. Most of them are worthy of a story element, a few might carry an entire plot.

The first article is about medeval books. It appears many of them contained tools of one kind or another. The author compares them to apps on a modern day phone. These tools could track the zodiac, play and interpret lucky numbers, and even let everyone know when Easter was that year. Read the actual article here.

There’s a lot an author could do with an ancient tool in a book. Maybe it’s the secret to tracking an ancient treasure. Maybe it allows someone to communicate with a malignant spirit or deliver a curse. It could be more modern too. What if a children’s pop-up book contains one of these tools that serves an evil purpose.

The second article is about something creepy in an Alabama swamp. A deputy sheriff, seeking a stolen car, discovered 21 dolls staked out in the swamp. The doll’s faces had been painted white, but a few were missing heads. You can read the story here.

This one is just creepy. Kids don’t normally get to play in the swamp, so I have to suspect an adult. What nefarious purpose do they serve? An author could make them number the members of a senate sub-committee, or a jury. They could align with certain stars. Maybe they keep the skunk ape at bay. The end result could be magic, or it could be a twisted pedophile keeping trophies.

The last two articles both came at the same time. Rather than hold one, I decided to give you four in this post.

Article number three is a photography article. I’m a very visual person, and find inspiration in art. My usual haunt is DeviantArt, but this article will do. It’s a series of abandoned items and buildings. View the actual photos here. What surprised me was the amount of personal property left behind in the buildings.

I can see the abandoned factory as the site of a superhero origination. I love the one with the old bottles and dirty mirror. Naphta on the same shelf with gin? There are also some creepy abandoned mannequins. These ought to inspire someone’s haunted house somewhere.

Finally, this post is about ten historic sites that were lost due to stupidity. It’s actually an important article without inspiring any fiction. You can read it here. I kind of wish the lady who burned up the ancient tree had stayed up there. What kind of selfish morons blew up Jona’s tomb?

The one that appealed to me was the Singapore stone. The Brits wanted to build a fort on the site, so they blew it up. At least they repurposed the rubble. The ancient text on the stone was lost forever. Like the last article, I see these more as story elements than plot drivers.

So what can we do with all this inspiration? Maybe an ancient book contains a tool that leads our plucky heroine on an adventure. It reveals some ancient curse that is coming true, as revealed in the placing of creepy dolls in one place, and creepy mannequins in another. She travels all over the world chasing ancient clues, but finds many of them destroyed due to stupidity.

Maybe our hero Deputy Dawg is chasing a serial killer. The creepy mannequins and the creepy dolls are related somehow. Maybe you need one of the abandoned buildings, or that abandoned mausoleum for your final climax.

Maybe you want to tie the destroyed ancient sites to aliens in a sci-fi epic of some kind.

Go crazy, people. What inspires you?



Filed under The Idea Mill, Writing