Where Do You Come Up With This Shit?
A few days ago a friend of mine asked me if he could read some of my short stories. I had no problem with it, but the question was, Which one? After giving it some careful thought, I decided to let him read Hungry for More. It’s a newer piece that hasn’t seen publication yet, and more than likely will turn up in the collection of short pieces I am working on. I gave him that piece because it was a newer piece, and because another friend of mine has expressed interest in turning it into a short film. Anyway, when he was done, he had this disgusted look on his face (I guess he doesn’t read much horror fiction), but asked to read something else. I gave him For the Preservation of the Species, a novelette that I recently posted on Amazon for Kindle readers. When he was done with that, he asked me the question readers have been asking writers for ages: Where do you get you ideas? Actually, his exact words were, “Where do you come up with this shit?” He didn’t mean it was shit; it’s just his way of speaking, the uncivilized barbarian. He says Stephen King has written some “seriously fucked up shit”, so I took it as a compliment. After giving it a little thought, I told him, Anywhere and everywhere, and that’s the truth. You never know where the idea of your next story is going to come from.
My first published short story, Forgive Me, Father, For I Have…Burp!, started out as a snarky response to something Mark Henry said in his Yahoo! group, something about the Father Confessor has arrived, come forward and confess your sins. Since Mark was writing about high-functioning zombies, I came back with something about eating my girlfriend on a Friday, and good little Catholic boy that I am, I asked if I was going to Hell. Well, it wouldn’t go away, so one day I just started writing to get it out of my head, and thus the story was born.
Hungry for More came from something a homeless person said at the Bed and Breakfast I frequent in Vermont, and the same place, with its spider-infested room, provided the inspiration for For the Preservation of the Species. My first novel manuscript, Ursa Major, which is currently in the editing/rewrite stage, had its roots in a dream. My second manuscript, working title Maggie Creek Road, came to me while I was listening to Reba’s recording of a song by the same title. There are a few other ideas that I am working on that were also born from snippets of songs. Another idea came to me after noticing some roadkill while out for a walk this past summer. Yes, roadkill. So you never know where the next idea is going to come from. You just need to keep your eyes, ears, and mind open to what’s going on around you because sometimes you won’t even be consciously aware of it, but something, somewhere, sometime, is going to trigger those creative juices and the idea will be there. It might come to you fully developed, but the seed will be planted; you’ll just need to nurture it until it develops into something bigger.