Thursday, March 21, 2013

Speaking of Inspiration

Yesterday, Luke Bellmason told us about the inspiration for his Canterbury Tales, and of course it made me think about how I get inspiration.

First, I have to admit that I'm extremely lucky: I never seem to have trouble coming up with story ideas; I just have a problem containing the flood of them. A lot of them are lost, unfortunately, because I don't get them written down before so many more come that I can't recall them. Of the rest, a few rise to the category of 'Must-Write.'

The idea for An Analysis of the Cardassian Language began when I was watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and kept imagining what would happen if I were there. The show is set on a space station originally built by hostile aliens, and my imagination wandered to the time when the aliens had been in charge. How would they react to my presence? Of course it was an entirely unworkable idea because I couldn't come up with any excuse for a 21st-Century human to be on a Cardassian space station in the 24 Century. But the idea kept pestering me, so I made some other stories from it, including "The Mammal Cage," figuring I'd get it out of my system. I didn't.

Finally, more than a year later, I thought of the rest of the plot elements that would make the story work. I don't remember what triggered them, but the more I thought about it, the more everything fit together.

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