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There’s a story here, I just have to find it

Posted by nightphoenix on February 25, 2013 in Art, Input, Life, Process, Short Stories |

As a writer, I find myself saying this a lot.

I’ve heard of writers who have a difficult time coming up with ideas…and I confess, I have no idea what that feels like. As of right now, if I never had another story idea again, I have enough material sitting on my computer to keep me occupied for the next decade, at least.

Ideas can come from anywhere and anything. For example, this Tumblr.

I found it via one of the many blogs I frequent. At first it was merely amusing and interesting. Street art is always something I’ve thought about doing (except in real life I’d probably be too afraid of getting arrested), but as I kept clicking through it I had that realization: there’s a story here.

What struck me about this kind of street art was that element of the sublime breaking through the mundane in small ways, of people leaving little pieces of themselves out there for other people to find and appreciate. There’s a lot you could do with that, especially in a story setting. Like…

What if it wasn’t NYC, which still contains bits of the natural world, but a futuristic metropolis whose people no longer even remember what a tree is?

What if such “vandalism” wasn’t just slap-on-the-wrist illegal, but actively, dangerously forbidden?

What if the people leaving the messages were trying to warn everyone else about something?

I could take this conceit a number of different directions:

Urban fantasy: Have the street artists be fairies, or some other fantastic race dropping clues about themselves for humans to find. Conversely, have the street artists be human, leaving messages to the Fae (or not, but the Fae take interest anyway).

Futuristic sci-fi 1984-ish dystopia: Some sort of totalitarian government doesn’t want people to remember their past. Government is hiding something from the people. There is a resistance. Etc.

Straight up mystery: A body and a literal trail of clues. Serial killer as a street artist. However, as that’s not my usual genre, I’d need a really good in-story reason to take it that direction.

Literary: Connect the street art mystery to a character’s inner journey, maybe make them sojourn across America, something lovely and cheesy like that. Also not my usual genre…maybe I’d fantasy it up a bit, include some supernatural element.

However, any and all of these require a cast and a setting. Right now my two most likely settings are good ole Earth…or if I go the dystopia route, Dell from the Mask of Eldermarch would make an ideal metropolis. I’d have to decide where on the timeline such a story would fall: before or after the events in Mask? I could put it on a new world entirely, of course, but that takes work :)

More important are the characters, especially if this turns into any sort of literary story. I may go poking around through my character folder and see if anyone might fit…but right now, I don’t have a clue who this story would be about. And one thing I’ve learned is not to force it. The right character will manifest eventually.

In other writing news, I’m making progress on the first Grimm short story (which is probably going to end up being more of a novelette). But as I have three drawings I need to finish before mid-March and two other bigger ones on the back burner, I haven’t been putting a whole lot of time into Grimms.

I’m perhaps about halfway done with Turn Loose the Mermaids, and have been wrestling with the question of which epic to do first. I was going to tackle The Poet and the Pendulum, but…if there’s one NW song I absolutely do not want to “practice” on or rush or screw up, that’s it. Thus, I’ve decided to do that one last. The first epic I’m going to do, then, is FantasMic. I have a pretty good idea of where I’d go with it, and it’s Disney…there won’t exactly be a shortage of source images to work from.

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