I'd like to introduce you to T.J. Loveless. I bumped into T.J. on She Writes and then got to know her more on her blog Writing From The Padded Room. The title alone may give you an insight into her great sense of humor.
T.J. is busy working as an editor and writing a novel. She once shared a bit of her current WIP premise with me, and I was immediately taken with her idea and in awe of her imagination. It's not that I don't have an imagination, but, truly, my mind just doesn't work the same way.
I asked T.J. to please share a little about how she comes up with her ideas. I was curious. I wanted the insights to her mind. This is a scary request to ask of anyone, and amazingly she was willing, so please sit back and enjoy her insights.
I often find myself wishing I had Julie's wonderful ability to shed light on some of life's more mundane moments and show them as the turning points in time they truly are.
Instead, my brain sees normal things in life and kicks the imagination in the proverbial gut to change it, mutate it, make it into something out of fantasy.
Yes, I am one of those people.
The ordinary takes on a fantasy element and suddenly, a story appears and must be written. I have four pages of Arial, 9pt, single spaced, two line plots of story ideas. And it grows on a daily basis.
Inspiration comes from everywhere. Environment, things I've faced personally, stories I've read, pictures, or from reading about a new scientific discovery. And no dream is ever discarded – inside it is a magic gateway into a realm I've yet to create in document form.
I'll show another way it works for some of us that write Science Fiction/Fantasy. I have a series, a mix of Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy, about a woman who is able to hold open and travel through wormholes because of a genetic mutation. She is charged with saving various creatures from mythology (the first story centers around carnivorous unicorns) in alternate universes. Yet that isn't the plot. The true plot? Odin, of the Norse pantheon, wants to use her as a broodmare and repopulate his lost Valkyrie. The first is a new job, new life. The second is how a mother will fight, no matter how she became a mother.
Where did this idea come from? Well, partially because my BS (how appropriate) in Biology centered around genetics. A love for mythology and it's peek into how humans think. A conversation with a cousin in Hawaii who is an astrophysicist. Going through Wild Horse Loop in Wyoming and watching a herd of Mustangs with newly dropped foals. A newspaper article about surrogates. Every one of them unrelated until my imagination took hold.
Next the questions which appeared: how would a woman, having lost her family, react to this kind of news and the discovery immortals want to use her? How would she handle the situation? What kind of personality would a woman such as this have? How would she fight the power of immortals?
I question everything, don't shut down the imagination even if it feels like a really stupid question. And mixed in is my passion for women's issues. You cannot find any work I've plotted, or written, which doesn't somehow confront daily problems most women face – the fears, wants, needs, desires, you name it, I have a plot with it.
After questioning other writers in Speculative Fiction – paranormal, fantasy, SciFi – many say the same thing. Our minds warp the normal, every day situation into something to we can speak through. It gives us play, ways of twisting reality into another world people are comfortable living – even temporarily.
For those of us living in the alternate reality of our own making, it is our imaginations' way of subtly sharing a message, whatever it may be.
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I wonder how many of you who, like T.J., write fantasy genre can relate to her process? Fortunately for me, she has family very near where I live in Colorado. One of these visits, we're going to get together and enjoy a glass or two of wine together. I'm quite sure when I'm into my 2nd or 3rd glass, I will have an epiphany. Until then, I sit back and admire.