Sources of inspiration

Last night, I recalled a writer’s prompt on that sounded like it would make a great short story, and when I went back to find it, I realized Writer’s Digest puts out many prompts that I could springboard from.

The other day, “The Daily Post” (another blog), had a prompt that if you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you tell (in my case) her?  I thought that was very intriguing, and it sparked a 1000+ word short story, a story I can punch up and have on hand for another writing competition.  (I tend to be a sucker for amnesia or time travel plot devices.)

Even just discovering  a new genre (just learned what steampunk was a couple of weeks ago) is enough to spark my creativity.  One thing I would love to do is write a sequel to a well-known book (I already have one in mind–I’d written a part of it years ago for a fanfiction site).  I’d wanted to write a sequel to “Pollyanna”, before I found out a sequel had already been written.

Though I love creating from scratch, it is nice to have something to build on (I call these my boxed cake mix ideas), just to see where an existing idea might lead me.  I have thoroughly enjoyed composing fractured fairy tales and nursery rhymes, though I realized a couple of my verses, meant for children, contain subjects such as gun and drug use.

When I was a little girl and my dad read me “Little Boy Blue”, I’d always thought it a sad story; whenever he got to the part where I knew Boy Blue was going to cry, I’d beg him to stop reading.  I wrote a darker version of the story, which I will share in this post; the one I will be sending to children’s magazines and the like, the word “gun” is replaced with “gum” (as in chewing gum).  I’m also working on a more lighthearted version of the Lizzie Borden rhyme.

What sparked my interest in Lizzie Borden was a book by Mary Higgins Clark, in which a modern-day girl named Liza Barton is compared to the infamous (alleged) axe murderess (I don’t want to give anything away, because the book is worth reading), and, most recently, the Lifetime made-for-TV movie, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe”, which was awful.  Christina Ricci did a great job (even though she looked nothing like Lizzie, she had the creepiness factor), but the music was jarring and didn’t fit the movie at all.  Most TV movies are awful, but there are a few gems out there (“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” and  “Caroline?” being a couple of exceptions).

Inspiration is everywhere.

Little Boy Hugh:  A Fractured Nursery Rhyme

Little Boy Hugh,
go load your gun.
Strangers are coming,
ready to rob and run.
Where is the lad,
who keeps the robbers away?
Why he’s fully armed,
waiting down the road halfway.
Will you go to him?
Oh, no, not I,
for if I do,
he will surely blow me away.

6 thoughts on “Sources of inspiration

  1. I like your fractured nursery rhyme. 🙂 I’ve always appreciated the darker and morbid stories, songs, movies, etc… And it’s nice to know that someone else feels the same as I do about the Lizzie Borden movie. The music was all wrong. Too modern for the time period. I think Christina Ricci was really the only good part of the movie, because dark and creepy of characters are her specialty.

    • Thank you! I think darker is “in”, like sexy vampires. Lifetime Channel disappointed me with their version of “Flowers in the Attic”, too–that was one of the few good things about the original “Flowers”, was the creepy score.

      • I did like this new version of Flowers in the Attic. It’s been awhile since I read the books, though, so some things I couldn’t compare to it. I hated the ending of the original movie, because it was too far from the book. As far as my liking of the dark and morbid, I don’t know where it came from but I now work with my 1st grade best friend who says she remembers me always wanting to play vampires and witches at recess. Lol!

  2. To me, a film version of a book is a whole different animal. I don’t mind if they do whatever they want with it, as long as it’s good (I think 99% of the population differs from me, in this respect), so I didn’t mind the vastly different denouement of the 1987 film adaptation of “Flowers in the Attic”. I do think the casting of Chris was perfect for this, but mainly, because he was a lot better looking than the one in the ’87 version. 🙂

    I think my fascination with the dark and morbid started when I became a fan of the early V.C. Andrews books in high school. I was so disappointed with the books following the Logan series, though even the Logan series, it was evident that the quality was starting to go down. When I read “Secrets in the Attic”, released years later, having decided to give V.C.’s ghostwriter a second chance, I knew it was the last.

  3. I’m definitely in the 99%. I can’t help it, I guess I’m just a “book purist” Lol. I was disappointed over the movie of Stephen King’s “Dream Catcher” and I’ve watched two different versions of “Wuthering Heights” that left me very upset. I have noticed though, that the more I like a book the harder it is for me when the film adaptation is changed from that. If I’ve never read the book, or I watch the movie before reading the book it doesn’t really matter to me.

    From an author’s standpoint, I feel like it would be heartbreaking to work so hard on a story and have everything perfect to how I feel it needs to be for everything to work and then have everything completely changed for the movie. Especially when over the period of writing the book, these characters become real people and I form emotional attachments to them. I understand that in some cases, the author is present for the filming and changes are run by him or her. If I ever become published and they want to make a movie of my books, I suppose if it were done in that way I could try to be OK with it. 🙂

  4. I’ve tried to read Stephen King’s books, though I never could get into him (however, I love his personal story, and, as a writer, have found it very inspirational). I have liked a few of his movies, “Misery” being my favorite, because of the black humor. It is hard not to compare the movie to the book if you’ve read the book. See, I absolutely loved “Flowers in the Attic”, so I don’t think any movie based on it can compete with my imagination, but with books like “Gone with the Wind” (good, but I didn’t love it), it couldn’t compete with the performances of Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable, the score, the cinematography, etc.

    I know Margaret Mitchell said they could do whatever they wanted with her book, it was their project; if my name is on something, as long as it’s good, I don’t mind if they radically change it (I’m talking movies–if an editor wanted me to radically change my book, I don’t think I could do that).

    I definitely become emotionally attached to my characters (I sort of feel like all my main characters are different manifestations of me). 🙂

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