(Aaron, unless your story is more or less done, go away.)
The jumping-off point for a story can come from the strangest places. For the longest time in my February story, I was stuck on the bullet, on The Eradication, and on teddy bears. This story was going around in circles. I was modelling it in style after Jasper Fforde. In fact, I said all of this in some prior blog posts – go back and read them if this sounds foreign.
Now I’m reading Verner Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep. In it (as far as I can tell – I’m still quite early on) there are these creatures which are, by nature, a collections of smaller creatures. Their personality traits, memories, etc… all are determined by which sub-creatures constitute these bigger things. I read this and, like most people, immediately thought of Voltron. In fact, telling Ash about it, she immediately thought of Voltron (though it was before her day.) And suddenly, my story had shape.
How does Voltron relate to Teddy Roosevelt? Well, isn’t it obvious? I immediately thought to another Verner Vinge story, Marooned in Realtime, and suddenly something else became very clear. My story needs to take place in post-Apocalyptic Earth. Clearly. That way, I get to keep all the cool bits about The Eradication.
Then, I thought back to a game of Taboo (where Aaron and I typically kicked serious ass), and a strange link Aaron and I seemed to have. He was the reader and he said, questioningly, “Heads?” Many people would say ‘tails’, or something. No, I went immediately to “Mount Rushmore.” Point for us, but more importantly, a jumping off point for my story. Because you know who’s on Mount Rushmore? That’s right, Teddy F’n Roosevelt.
So now I have a setting: a small subterranean settlement in what was once southern SD. And an antagonist; evil aliens. And guess what, I can still use the bullet. In fact, just about the only thing I’ve gotten rid of is the teddy bear. I’m past the point of no return, of course, so this will be my story, for better or worse. It’s making me laugh each time I work on it, though, so I think I’m on the right track. ~3000 words down, and I’m hoping to finish up a very rough draft tonight.
And now that I have a foothold, I’m off to read Aaron’s blog posts from this month.