Monthly Archives: March 2013
The last few weeks on POL, I’ve discussed some out of the box sources of inspiration, but since this is about a book, I felt this week, I should talk about something more book-related. And so I have decided to use the week to discuss an author whom I can claim as my first writing influence- one of the masters of American horror, Mr. Stephen King.
Points of Light: Stephen King
Almost everyone has probably heard of at least one story by Stephen King. One of the most popular and bestselling authors of the last forty years, King is primarily known for his horror stories, which range from the supernatural (Pet Sematary, The Shining, Needful Things), to the mundane turned horrific (Cujo, Christine, The Dark Half), to gritty suspense (Dolores Claiborne, Misery). However, King has penned tales of hope, redemption, and the trials of youth (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Hearts in Atlantis), as well as epic fantasy (The Dark Tower Saga, The Eyes of the Dragon) all spread out over thirty novels, countless short stories, and even some original screenplays. Writing well into his sixties, King remains one of the most successful authors in the world- his work has been turned into various films (though not all successful), and he has received various literary awards over his career.
What I Learned: Description, Themes, Dialogue,
Stephen King was the first serious author I ever read, thanks to my mother’s attempt to wean me from the child’s horror of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. With the impact King had, it was probably the best thing she ever did for me. What I loved the most about my first King book (Different Seasons, a collection of four novellas) was how much of a picture King painted with his words. Just by having the characters talk, I not only got a clear picture of them, but also the world in which they lived. When Red, the inmate narrator of Shawshank describes his life as the prison’s ‘supplier’, you immediately understand not only him, but the dreary, endlessly routine world in which he lives. And by doing that, King shows another skill- his ability to tie themes into his story without letting them overshadow the tale.
Last week, I discussed how a video game gave me inspiration for the worlds and diverseness of Lightrider. And since I’ve already discussed TV and literature, I’d like to discuss another aspect that helped in a particular area of the book’s development- my love of music. Obviously, this didn’t mean I was now writing about rock stars, but as Zelda helped me to create a diverse, rich world, music helped me to create real people to populate it.
Points of Light: Music
Since I enjoyed my little Suess story last week, I decided to do another writing prompt for Write On Edge. This time the prompt was the image of a crystal sphere and a lakeside castle, so I turned out a little unhappy fairy tale. Enjoy!
“Woman!” Jeffery yelled from inside his chambers. “Where is my dinner? I demand food!”
But the king received no answer. Angrily, he stomped out of bed and flung open the doors to the hallway, continuing to yell. Normally, this would have brought servants running from every level of the castle to attend to him. But all Jeffery heard in response was in his own echoes.
“Where in heaven’s name have those fools gone?” Jeffery muttered, his royal robes fluttering about him as he walked around the halls. He continued to call for some to attend him, but as he walked through more and more of his grand palace, he began to think something was wrong. No matter where he went, he found nothing but empty rooms.
“How dare they abandon me! I shall have their heads!” Jeffery yelled, his fear buried in the sound of his angry voice. He stalked his way to the kitchen and flung the door open. But inside, he found foodstuffs still waiting to be prepared, and cooking fires roaring over spitted food that had long ago burned. Puzzled, with his fear growing by the moment, Jeffrey moved to the spit and removed it, only to drop the hot metal in anguish a second later.
“What… what madness is this?” he said aloud, as he cradled his burned hand. Frantically, he began to call for help, this time straining his mind to remember the name of at least one servant.
“Vanessa! Girl, please! I am hurt! I need your help!”
But still he heard nothing but silence. In panic, Jeffrey ran for the great doors and pushed them open. Standing in front of his lake castle, he screamed, “WHERE IS EVERYONE!”
“Hey c’mon Vanessa! Let me see! I wanna see!”
“Not yet,” Vanessa said, as she pushed her rbother away. “There is still much I need to do here. Go help the others load the wagons.”
Her brother sulked, but walked away to do as he was told. Smiling, Vanessa held up the glass orb and gazed inside, to the little castle sitting on a glass lake, and the little figure in front of it.
“You should have learned to hold your tongue, my Lord,” Vanessa whispered.
“Especially in MY presence,” the little witch added.
Thus far on points of light, I’ve discussed two of my influences from television and literature. As many people can tell, these are mediums rich with inspiration and ideas to inspire the imagination. However, as writers, we should try to look for inspiration anywhere we can find it. Great books can come from anything; as I’ve mentioned before, Stephen King wrote the epic IT after seeing a sewer drain in the middle of a forest. So I’ve always tried to take something from any sort of medium I’ve found, and one particular source has been a source of great inspiration- Nintendo’s classic video game series, The Legend of Zelda.
Points of Light: The Legend of Zelda
Zelda’s first game was released back in 1986, and has spawned several sequels across various consoles. While the general plot has varied between games, the general concept is usually the rescue of the Princess of Hyrule Zelda by the game’s hero Link, and the exploration and redemption of the medieval land of Hyrule (or another land in some games). In particular, I have taken influence from the games Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, and the most recent game, Skyward Sword. However, one game more then any other was influential in the development of Lightrider- the gaming classic Ocarina of Time.
This week, I’m continuing Points of Light with a look at a source that was so essential to the book, I would never have been able to write it without it. When I started writing, one thing I very much wanted to avoid was creating a sword and shield style fantasy book. Even though I love stories like Lord of the Rings, I felt there wasn’t anything new I could add to this genre, and that having those elements in modern times was far more interesting. However, one such fantasy book series provided such tremendous insight on concept and character that I found myself compelled to use it. That series was the Dragonlance Chronicles, by Track Hickman and Margaret Weis.
Hey everyone, decided to try the Write on Edge challenge today. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Write on Edge posts weekly writing prompts that anyone can participate in – you simply link up your post on the website. This week we were prompted to compose up to 500 words on the following Dr. Seuss quote and image:
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” – Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax