What Sparks The Writer? (The Spark Blogfest)


My good friend (and co-conspirator in our Rule of Three Writers Blog Fest) Lisa posted on her blog Flash Fiction something that intrigued me: When Dreams Come True-A Post for the Sparkfest.

Sparkfest is the invention of Christine Tyler of The Writer Coaster, and this is my first introduction to her writing blogging world. I am sure it won’t be my last as I just subscribed. SUPPORT WRITERS AND OTHER ARTISTS. End of soapbox.

The prompt for this blogfest:

What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer?

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

Or, Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

Christine has a whole set of “rules” on her page: check them out, and enter as you will. Me, um…well,  if you’ve been reading me at all, you should have an idea about how I feel: Rules? Rules? We don’ need no stinkin’ rules!  Her basic prompt was to choose one of the three above.
By The Way: if you don’t know, I am also a Fiction Writer, and write on my Tale Spinning Blog. This probably should have gone there, and it might still, later. Thought you should know, if you have only known me for what I write about in Education.
I’m going to try all three. Just to be…me. (Thank you, Gene Simmons. I hope she says yes, and I hope you are better).

What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer?

This is a tough one for me. I am not sure there is one book that did that. The first thing that comes to mind, really:

Comic Books

I have been involved with reading, collecting, cherishing comic books since way before I could read. My mother used to buy me a few when I was very little (Gold Key; Harvey; Classics Illustrated; Disney;  and Archie comics) and I loved the whole thing. It was more than pictures and words. Comics took me on a journey across the world and into imagination. When I discovered Super Heroes, that was it: Hooked 110% all the way. My imagination knew no boundaries from that day forth. I also understood very well that with great power comes great responsibility.

My memory may play tricks with me, but besides wanting to be a scientist (not with MY grades!), I had always wanted to write for the comics. Always. Still do.  I used to write my own little things in school when I was bored out of my mind. Always drawing my little thumbnails (didn’t know I was story-boarding then), creating characters, writing dialogue, etc.

So…doomed to be a writer? I don’t think I’ve ever thought of writing as a doomed thing. Exciting, creative, expressive, exploitative, demanding, challenging…yes. Doomed? Never.

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

My current work in progress is Agent driven: I asked her “what do you want from me?” when all she had previously said was she wanted to see a novel from me (she won’t handle short story writers). Her answer: “I want a great love story.” So, that is what I am doing right now. For those of you that have read my published short story in Dawn of Indie Romance, you’ll see I do have that in me.
The author who set me afire in inspiration overall is Roger Zelazny. I do have a few other things in the works besides the “great love story,” and I feel that I owe them all to the late Mr. Zelazny. He was, to me, THE writer to look up to, to want to be compared to. He broke down big heavy walls in his speculative fiction and fantasy writing.  He explored ancient mythologies putting his own twist  on things.
  • Lord of Light was the first book of his I read, and will reread it as long as I can read. Hinduism, scifi, fantasy: you name it.
  • A Rose for Ecclesiastes just an amazingly beautiful story, melding Christian mythos with science fiction AND it’s a love story too.
  • The Chronicles of Amber is probably what Zelazny is best known for. This fantasy series has everything in it: great stories; great characters; great mysteries; great love; great horror and tragedy; and a lot of Zelazny’s humor.
He was diverse in his writing styles. He had a love for language. He had a diverse referencing skill in what he drew upon as a writer. If I ever had to grow up, I’d want to grow up to be a 1/10 of a Roger Zelazny in my writing. My The Kistune-Mochi Tale (working title) is inspired by his work. Thank you, Mr. Zelazny.

Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

This is the book that blew away my itty, bitty mind when I was around 16/17. It was written/published in 1972, and I still have my copy. So, yeah…16 or 17. I remember reading it, having to put the book down, close my eyes, and my head just swam/exploded with all the complexities I was experiencing from the book. No: I was not on any drug. I don’t do drugs. Never did. This book was enough.

RD Laing’s knots was a psychological poetry brainf**k for me then, and it still retains all of that for me now. Not a fiction book, per se, as I’m normally driven towards fiction. But,it is life presented in an infinity loop of desperation, longings, desires, needs, destructiveness, love, hate, and “what are we doing to ourselves and each other?” wanderings.

Amazon’s description of the book is:  “A series of dialogue-scenarios, which can be read as poems or plays, describing the “knots” and impasses in various kinds of human relationships.” I think they do it a disservice.

I think my questioning of “why” someone does something, not as judgment but as wanting to just know to understand, has it’s roots from reading this book. It does help me as a writer/playwright: all characters want something. My question is: why?

Hope you liked this one. Bit on the long side, but…I never did promise you brevity.

You should join this one, if you are serious about writing too.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hajra
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 13:59:08

    This is such a lovely read. I ain’t a “writer” in true sense as you are but there are certain books that inspire me to write and just get it all out.
    Glad I read this. I haven’t read Knots, will have to hunt for it now,,sounds amazing! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 17:12:46

    Stuart- loved the post and the concept.
    I actually use a similar concept for asking how folks decided to become chemical engineers, physicians,microbiologists or researchers, in general. The situations, while different on the surface, are really the same.
    It may not have been a book – it could have been a person or persons, but the same applies. I still remember mine- Leonardo Da Vinci (his art, drawings, and notebooks), Paul Ehrlich (Magic Bullet movie starring Edward G. Robinson), among others.

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Aug 23, 2011 @ 18:05:48

      Thank you Roy. This is a great way to discover people: what made them/ignited them. I loved Bio, the magazine, just for that.

      “Is this the end of Little Syphilis?” 🙂

      Reply

  3. Krissy Brady (@krissybrady)
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 20:03:33

    Great post! I knew it would be though. 🙂

    I want to play, so here are my answers:

    What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer?
    The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence.

    What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress? Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye. I really connect with her style of writing and the various female characters she has created over the years. The poem “Prairie Graveyard” by Anne Marriott is what helped me to find my way through the poetry trenches, and in terms of my screenplay, screenwriter Paul Haggis by far.

    Or, Is there a book or author that changed your world view?
    I tend to read celebrity autobiographies, so each one has their own influence on my life and what I hope to be a successful writing career. I would say the most influential book so far is The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier. His viewpoints exactly express how I feel and what I wasn’t able to put into words before.

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Aug 23, 2011 @ 20:06:50

      Krissy, thank you. Question: why did The Stone Angel make you want to be a writer? I’ve never read it, and would love to know what kicked you into high gear.

      Thanks for “playing”.

      Reply

  4. Damyanti
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 22:28:45

    I haven’t read RD Laing’s ‘knots’. Your descriptions makes me want to go and get it…and I think I will. Great post, Stuart…and is so very…you.

    Reply

  5. MPax
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 16:58:48

    It was nice discovering your sparks. I enjoyed some comics when young. I really liked Wendy the Witch.

    Reply

  6. Samantha Bangayan (@samanthaluy)
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 20:49:17

    Wow! I never envisioned you as a comics kinda guy, Stu! =) This brings back memories of days and days spent reading Archie comics for me. =) I miss those stories!

    I also loved learning about how your new book came to be! I so admire your flexibility in writing and storytelling. =)

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Aug 25, 2011 @ 20:58:37

      Hi Sam…well, I want to write what I want to write, but when an agent says she wants something, I’ll do what I can now to get published. I have so many things I want to write about, so…

      Why no envisioning? I’m a true comic book geek. I have over 26,000 comics. Had to stop buying them last year, which hurts. Just no space and no money. I still love them, still read about them, and still buy the occasional one or two, but not like I used to. I would buy over 40 titles a month, but now, at $3.00 a pop, that’s just too much money. Somethings have to give.

      Reply

  7. e6n1
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 06:56:10

    I read ‘Lord of Light’ too- it’s even more relevant now.

    Reply

  8. Laura Marcella
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 18:45:52

    Calvin and Hobbes is my favorite comic! I always pick it up when I need a mood booster. 🙂

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Aug 27, 2011 @ 19:08:45

      I am a huge C&H fan: have the full collection that came out, and it’s fun to just take it out now and then. It would have made an interesting comic book alongside Sugar and Spike. Thanks Laura.

      Reply

  9. Christine
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 00:04:09

    Oh wow, what an interesting response. Don’t worry, the rules were just guidelines. There was really only one rule, and as any unvaryingly spritely camp counselor would say, “The rule is to have fun!” But really.

    Comics have been a great source of inspiration for me as well! I used to have an online comic…kind of went up in flames. Or down with a damp lack of attention. I still daydream of a story or two I’d love to tell frame by frame.

    Knots sounds intriguing, to say the least. Your recommendation really caught my attention. Thanks so much for sharing these unique sparks!

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 02, 2011 @ 06:31:58

      Hi Christine: thanks for throwing the Sparkfest. I had fun doing that…and I never worry about rules/guidelines, unless it’s to keep me or others safe. Safety first, all others….eh. You really should get back to your daydream….a dream is always worth pursuing. Again, thanks…and thanks for the comments.

      Reply

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