The Source of Ideas

This month, on the ChristianWriters.com Blog Chain, we are discussing the question of where we get our ideas for writing, in general, and in the case of our current work in progress.

My ideas come to me all over the place. I am often thinking about stories – as I walk to work – as I make the bed – as I do jobs around the house. A lot of my “writing” is done during these times as I make up stories in my head.

My children can be a great source of ideas. One minute I’ll be playing with my daughter and she’ll point up at the ceiling and say “A shark”. Suddenly I’m envisaging a story about flying sharks who have made a deal with the dragons. In exchange for making war against the peaceful people of the land, the dragons have given the sharks wings. Next, my daughter says something about her brother and a tiger – and sure enough I’m imagining her going on a great quest to find the prince of the Tiger People to ask their assistance in defending her Kingdom from the sharks. This may become a children’s story some day – or perhaps it would be more suited to a Sierra-style adventure game.

This brings me to my current work in progress – my first novel – Hybrid Force. I’ve completed a first draft and would love to get it published. The idea for this one first began to germinate in my mind about six years ago. I’d been watching the X-Men movies, and the Smallville television series. About that time I also re-introduced myself to the 1978 Richard Donner Superman film. I was essentially re-discovering a genre as an adult, that I had loved as a child. I began to think to myself – supposing I was ever to be given the opportunity to re-imagine a classic superhero story, how would I approach it? I knew that I would treat the material as a work of serious science fiction, and try to portray it in that way. Then I started to think, why not create my own characters? I came up with a cast of several characters, and a potentially interesting origin story. I gave them some abilities beyond the human norm, with what I considered to be a reasonably unique explanation for these abilities. These characters would not be normal people who ‘aquired’ abillities, their abilities would be intrisincally tied into who they were – but they would not know themselves why they were different.

This lead to me thinking about these characters on an emotional thematic level. A lot of us tend to feel a sense that we are somehow “different” from everybody else. I know I have certainly experienced these feelings. I would try to tackle that theme through the lives of these characters whose “difference” was exaggerated by their unique abilities.

I think I started to write, but quickly reaslised I needed to get to know the characters better first. I decided to write a short story involving them as a way of “hanging out” with the characters. Sadly I have lost this story.

A few years passed. Many other writing ideas came to me. Our first child was born. I honstly don’t know what it was about this particular story but somehow it must have re-asserted itself in my subconsciousness because a few years ago I started writing chapter one. This time the story just flowed straight out of me. Now, today, I have a 60 thousand word manuscript, four potential sequels already in my mind, plus a prequel spin-off.

I really hesitate to call this novel a “super hero” story, becuase that’s not really what it is to me, and it carries with it so many connotations. That was how it started, but I prefer to think of it as a science-fiction thriller. There is a lot of work still to be done but I want to see it through.

At this point, I should share the teaser trailer I created for the book. I realise that this is probably a bit premature, but I couldn’t help myself.

View my Trailer Here.

It’s funny how a story can start as such a tiny seed of an idea and become something unepected. As the story progressed in my mind, I found myself discovering a few spiritual themes and lessons, making it a more ‘Christian’ book in the end than I had originally anticipated, but in a way that feels very natural to me, rather than preachy. I hope my future readers will agree.

Follow the chain

Also – check out Chris Solaas’ story – inspired by this blog chain. Read it here.

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About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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