Today I would like to talk about inspirations. Not so much people who have inspired me to
try my hand at writing become a writer, but more on where I get inspiration for the things I write. One of those places is my personal life. In the first novel I wrote, Sky Islands, the main character is a delivery person who uses a zip line to get from one island to the next more quickly than waiting for the regular basket system to take her. There are at least three sources of inspiration for that sentence summary alone, so let me break them down.
- Zip lines: When I was in high school and college, I worked most summers at a day camp. At this day camp I worked at the Adventure Tower activity. In this activity, we had four full size rock walls, a cave to climb in, and a zip line that took campers across the lake. I am familiar with zip lines and, unfortunately, getting stuck in the middle of one. I also know what I did wrong in the story, and what Belinda does that is much more dangerous than is really necessary, but I believe it fits her character better.
- Sky islands: This idea actually came from a tumblr account called Writing Prompts (writingprompts.tumblr.com). These are all Common Core aligned writing prompts (go ahead and shudder, I did). A number of which I have used in my classroom with a good amount of success.
- The basket system: This idea actually came from a number of amusement parks that I have visited, but mostly from Disney’s Magic Kingdom. This particular thing no longer exists in the park, and hasn’t for quite some time. The most popular story I have heard explaining it’s closure was that teenagers were jumping from the baskets over the park to kill themselves. Anyway, it was exactly what it sounds like, baskets that would fit a family that were suspended over the park to help move people from one side of the park to the other. Now, with the wait involved to actually get on one, it was almost always faster to just walk, but it was still fun to do.
Other sources of inspiration for this story include: a conversation with a friend about what would happen if a lab had an accident and poison gas was released that continued to expand and cover the earth and having a TV show about terrorist bombings on in the background when brainstorming ideas. I also got the idea for making the main character a delivery person from talking with someone who worked at the same day camp who packed FedEx trucks at night for the delivery drivers in the morning.
Where do you get your inspirations? If you have an interesting story, please share it in the comments. If you know someone you think would like this post, please share it with them.