Where My Writing Inspiration Comes From
by Ben Clayton
When writing, my inspiration is most often the question, what will happen, because with the way I write, I often don’t even know.
I tend to have random ideas pop into my brain that boil up and create story concepts but that is, by far, not the only way that ideas come to me. I write many types of stories, mostly in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres, but what stands out for me is that my main work is in graphic novel and photography story formats. Writing a story for a graphic novel can be done several ways. It can be created as a traditional story, as a detailed outline, or in my case, as a screenplay. Writing it as a screenplay provides myself and the artist more detail behind the scenes, which helps us create the best imagery for the work.
When I look at a painting and see the color, the style, and the movement of the piece, I wonder what it is expressing to me and sometimes the impressions that I get build an entire story.
Now, here is the point where I must include the inspiration of photography, specifically my own, though others works have been known to inspire as well. I work with a variety of models in different, but generally melancholy or horror concepts. Sometimes those photo sessions become a story. One particular photography session actually became a photography story book itself.
Films and books are also a big impression on me; giving me inspiration, though generally not through story ideas directly. They lead into writing styles, time periods, colors, weather and feelings. Beyond that, the rhythm of the book, the intensity, and the word usage creates a circuit in my head that makes me rage to get words out onto a page. With film, it’s color, detail, story and dialogue. Films that have a big influence on me are classics and non classics, such as Night of the Living Dead, The Maltese Falcon, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Usual Suspects, Zombie Land, The Exorcist, Let the Right One In (The Swedish version), Poltergeist, Evil Dead, American Werewolf in London, and so many more. Even Disney’s Fantasia has plays a role inspiring me.
Finally, there is musical inspiration. I have a setlist of songs that I play to give me a variety of feelings, but depending on what I’m writing, I will often modify the list to get a specific feeling, inspiring all kinds of ideas within the mood. The variety of songs are of a large range, but include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, The Pixies, Faith No More, Green Day, Concrete Blonde, Prince, CCR, The Cure, Elvis Costello, Violent Femmes, David Bowie, and on and on and on. The list is always growing, rarely and receding. Check out Work Mix 1 to get more insight.
All of these things culminate, and then the sun begins to rise, and I go to sleep. While sleeping, I see images of stories, characters, intense situations that can be humorous, sad, angry, mystifying or several other adjectives. Once I begin writing, the rhythm of the words become a living thing in my head. The images start to build and morph within my imagination, and that is what continues my inspiration and builds my story. When writing, my inspiration is most often the question, what will happen, because with the way I write, I often don’t even know.
Synopsis: A desolate time. The dead of winter. At the end of the world, zombies are the new rulers. Jeffrey and Kathleen, unlikely companions, survive in a small farm house. But who can be trusted? Are they alone in this new world? Are zombies the real danger?
Preview of Numb