Where my stories come from

I generally prefer to call my stories that, instead of writing, because I don’t write the majority of them down, and even the ones that I decide I should, usually don’t get written immediately. (For example: my vampire mystery novel that might have to end up being a trilogy or getting a lot of stuff cut out.)

All my stories start as daydreams, generally when I’m laying in bed, but I’ve started stuff to keep me from falling asleep in class, when I was in the car, visiting family for the holidays, etc, whenever I have mental energy that isn’t getting used (which is often…). Most of the stories start with me using the names and characters of whatever I’m currently obsessing with. The characters will get stretched and molded to fit wherever my mind roams. I also have character types of my own creation that show up under a variety of names.

A lot of my imaginings are blatant Mary Sues, interacting with my favorite characters. My most current one, who I’ve been using in more or less the same form since I graduated high school (so thirteen years now) is a fire mage who can do anything she can imagine in fire terms, including shape changing and traveling between worlds and into stories. She beats up demons, monsters, and the occasional god. And runs a school for other superheroes, including recruiting a young version of the Phantom of the Opera. Like I said, blatant Mary Sue. Incredibly blatant. Which is why I’ve completely discarded the notion of ever recording those stories (just getting rid of the copyright infringements would… well, basically remove most of it, honestly, and it’s too much of a massive crossover for me to want to do it as fanwork). I’m trying to replace her with another mental centerpiece but I haven’t come up with a story for her yet (and she’ll probably end up horrendously overpowered as well. It’s a recurring problem.)

I lot of it, I’ll just repeat the same stuff over and over. The fire mage and her friends have been working as singers at the Iceberg Lounge for like three years now, with various misadventures including demons showing up to fight Erik, helping Batman, and mostly just lots of snark and banter. Before that she was redoing the file room in Arkham and occasionally getting dragged into doing security work. Yes, it’s all very very self-indulgent.

But some of the smaller stories, the non-epic length ones and the one-shots, end up pretty good. And I try to write them down. The problem becomes when it’s a series of adventures with no specific end. And then I don’t know where the plot is going and it becomes a mess. I have two of those novels in process.

A lot of them I can pick out what influenced them. Some of them I can’t, aside from liking certain things (why do I like whump? No idea, but I sure do. I only just learned there was a specific term for it, for pete’s sake.) And it’s usually a giant mix of things (I have one – that’ll post once I get it edited a bit – that has an character inspired by Alpert, one of BaaingTree’s characters, some of the set-up inspired by a Sherlock fic, and most of it just my own really messed up brain.)

Of interest to no one but myself: my recurring themes and tropes

I have a ton of stories and characters that I come up with that I never write down (mostly because, hooo boy, Mary Sue and self-insert ahoy, wow.) I’m including those in these, because, well, I can. It’s my site. ;)

At nothing else, you can use this as a reason to get lost on the TV Tropes site for a few hours. I’ll be adding stuff as I think of it, basically so I can then get it out of my head and preferably stop making the same list over and over again.

  • Villain Protagonist I love writing villains and bad guys, so I tend to write more of them than heroes. It does mean some of my other recurring themes get some Unfortunate Implications because every time I write that kind of character it’s a bad guy.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink, Even Evil Has Loved Ones, Even Evil Has Standards, Blue and Orange Morality. It’s hard to write an absolutely evil character when you’re in his head (although I manage if the situation calls for it). And, well, complicated characters are more fun.
  • Mind Hive. I like to write characters who have a couple of people living in their heads. Unfortunately, this is one of the ones that bugs me, because right now all those characters are bad guys right now. And I do believe in Healthy Multiplicity so I want to fix that (The one good thing is that those characters are generally complicated and are more grey morality than black. So, that helps. Still need to fix it though.)
  • The Sleepless. Several of my characters have weird or irregular sleep schedules that don’t impact them poorly. For some of them it’s to emphasize that they’re odd. Some of the others it’s just the way they are.
  • Tall, thin men in nice suits. Yeah, it’s Author Appeal. Also cat people, barefooting, and a bunch of things that don’t need to be mentioned here.
  • Superpowers. Mutants. Spandex. Yeah, I read too many X-men comics as a kid and now I read too many Batman comics.
  • Hurt / Comfort. Sometimes without the comfort. (aka Whump)
  • Masks and Scars. Partially goes with the superhero stuff. Partially just because masks are cool. Sometimes goes as far as Full Body Disguise, especially for superheroes (I’m not a big fan of the domino mask…)
  • One True Love. Which is silly, because it’s not something I believe in real life. At least when I write it, it doesn’t mean that the relationship will be easy. Usually combined with some sort of soul-link thing (I rarely go as far as telepathy. Because telepathy is highly overrated).
  • Nearly instant language learning or Universal translator. Generally through some sort of telepathy or magic.
  • Older than they look. I keep writing these characters that are practically immortal or have a healing factor that keeps them looking young. (yes, alright, I read too many comic books, okay?)
  • Characters with mental illnesses or personality disorders, usually things that don’t exactly match up with anything real. I did mention too much Batman, right?