When the tour guide at the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens told us that the manchineel tree‘s sapm was so toxic it would burn anyone standing under it when it rained, most people backed away. My thought: I am so putting this in my novel… And thus, the Elysian Chronicles poisonwood tree was born.
That’s what we writers do. We steal. We steal ideas from nature, from watching human behavior, from science… If the idea sparks something creative inside us, chances are it will end up in a novel or a short story somewhere.
In this case, I needed to create a more dangerous environment for my hero, Davian, and his fellow soldiers. If you know me, you know I’m a fan of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I especially love the idea of Mirkwood and the river that ran through that cast a sleep spell on anyone who touched its water. When I heard about this “tree of death” as some call it, I pounced. It gave me something better than Mirkwood and it’s river of almost eternal sleep. I got to create a forest of trees my characters couldn’t even touch. Trees whose sap leaked into a river of acid. And, better yet, trees whose wood could make lethal, excruciating arrows because that’s how I roll.
If you’re a writer, artist, or any other type of creator, your best ideas will often come from life experiences. Maybe a couple talking will inspire a romance story. It might be a story about missing hikers that gives the horror writer his muse. It might be a pair of blue overalls and old man wears that inspire a mystery story. You never know where ideas come from, but when they strike, use them. Write them down; store them. In my case, paying attention to a guide in a garden led to an entire forest of acidic trees… (That sounded better in my head.)
How about you? What has inspired some of your greatest ideas?
Do you have M. B. Weston’s Elysian Chronicles on your Kindle yet? Get them now for only $2.99–less than the cost of a Starbucks Latte! (Click here for A Prophecy Forgotten on Kindle and Out of the Shadows on Kindle.)
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Fantasy, steampunk, pulp, and paranormal novelist M. B. Weston is the author of The Elysian Chronicles, a fantasy series about guardian angel warfare and treason. For more information on M. B. Weston, visit www.mbweston.com. To receive notification of M. B. Weston’s book releases click here to subscribe to Dark Oak Press & Media’s e-newsletter.