Where to Find Writing Inspiration
As authors we don't have the freedom to wait for the Muse to strike. Sometimes the words flow, and other times you need to find something to give you a kick in the ass to keep going. I find my writing inspiration in a lot of different places.
Currently, I'm working on part 2 in the Vegas Vendettas supernatural thriller series titled Vegas Valkyries. The focus this time is on three Valkyrie banished from Valhalla who are now working as bounty hunters in Las Vegas, desperately trying to win back Odin's favor to return home.
I'm not going to lie, it's been a bit of a struggle. Book 1 in the series, Lucky Sevens, was a three-year journey and a love letter to my hometown of Las Vegas. So, book 2 has a lot to live up to, even though it's very much its own story.
So, when I get stuck I seeking writing inspiration. Here are some of the places I found it:
I'm not an avid gamer, but when I find one that I like, I can get lost in the world of it for hours. Never a fan of the original story of Assassin's Creed, I picked up Assassin's Creed: Valhalla simply because of the Norse theme. I've been pleasantly surprised! Not only is it a fun game but it also has so much Norse mythology laced throughout the gameplay, that I've been finding nuggets of information I can relate to my own novel.
Fantasy art is compelling to look at. The images often tell a thousand tales. Even though my cover art is done, looking at images from the likes of Frank Frazetta or Boris and Julie Vallejo helps inspire me with my story.
Its important to read as an author. I don't do it as much as I should, so for my birthday this year I bought a bunch of books I've been wanting to read. One of them is the first book in Jim Butcher's Dresden files. I'm only a few chapters in but I can already see why this was a best selling series. Reading other author voices helps me develop my own.
I like to fantasy cast in my head while I'm writing. It gives me a strong visual representation in my mind that I can refer back to quickly when needed. For the trio of the Valkyrie I had two very specific sources come to mind.
One was the film Blue Crush about three female surfers living in Hawaii trying to make ends meet. The other was a TV show called Cleopatra 2525 which was created by the same people who made Xena: Warrior Princess.
The dynamic between the surfer girls and the team from Cleopatra is what I played off of. I wanted my Valkyrie to have distinctive personalities and also work well as a team.
That said, I also went ahead and fantasy cast my own team of actresses, because who doesn't dream of their book becoming a movie or TV show!
Without further ado, my character intros are as follows:
Sigr – The leader, aka “Inciter to Victory” (Zoe Saldana)
Kava – The muscle, aka “The wild, stormy one” (Vicky Pratt)
Bryn – The lovelorn, aka "Bright Battle" (Ruth Wilson)
Vicky Pratt was in Cleopatra 2525 and I couldn't envision anyone else as my tough girl Kava. For the leader, I wanted someone strong, and stoic who seemed like she could lead a team. Zoe Saldana fit the bill. And I didn't really have anyone in mind for Bryn until I watched a show called The Affair and saw the marvelous Ruth Wilson. Her acting and her beauty both blew me away.
But while I'm on the subject, my research and inspiration sources have also told me what NOT to do in my writing journey. As I mentioned watching The Affair, I was initially really intrigued with the plot and the characters. But almost immediately into the second season the show started to fizzle out. Then (based on behind the scenes drama from my understanding) they gave Ruth's character Alison one of the worst character arcs I've ever seen.
When writing anything the character has to grow and develop otherwise the audience/reader gets bored. I know, I've been told that about some of the characters in my early work. For the Alison character, you see her grow and then they flushed it all down the toilet with where her character ends up. As a viewer, it was a really dissatisfying conclusion to what started as a complex, interesting and realistic character. I can only assume things work differently in Hollywood but it left a bad taste in my mouth as I was really enjoying the show. However, I didn't even finish watching it after I learned of Alison's demise.
Another "what not to do" came from the book I started before Dresden files. Nora Roberts wrote a compelling story in Year One, a departure from her usual storylines. I like Year One enough that I bought the sequel, Of Blood and Bone, and found myself disappointed with it. In Year One you're introduced to a group of lively characters to follow. In Blood and Bone, there are new characters but most of the focus is on a rather uninteresting 15 year old girl. I was hoping to revisit the original characters.
So, since I'm doing something similar with Vegas Vendettas, where it is three different stories set within Las Vegas, I'm very mindful of making each protagonists journey just as compelling in every book. And also, that they have satisfying character arcs with growth and meaning. Trust me, if I kill someone off it will push the narrative not because I have sour grapes about something else!
What inspires you in your passion project?
Cast from Valhalla, a trio of Valkyrie seek to win back Odin’s favor in their new roles as bounty hunters. But as their latest case pits them against the evils of Helheim, one of the girls is having second thoughts about returning home.
Bryn, Kava, and Sigr were Odin’s finest warrior Valkyrie. Now they’re the toughest bounty hunting trio in Las Vegas. While catching bail jumpers and magical fugitives, they learn the Queen of Death, Hel has brought her forces of chaotic evil to Sin City.
The Valkyrie are tasked with stopping the Helions from piercing the veil and bringing Helheim to Earth. But as the battle looms, will Bryn’s reluctance to leave her new mortal life cost the Valkyrie this much needed victory?
Part of the Vegas Vendettas supernatural thriller series. Fans of Neil Gaimen’s Norse Mythology will love Vegas Vendettas.