Monday, April 29, 2019

GUEST POST: How to Always be on the Lookout for New Inspiration by Kelvyn Fernandes

Hi, my name is Kelvyn Fernandes, author of The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi. As a writer of a fantastical journey, filled with peculiar characters and wondrous creatures, I’m often asked where do I get the ideas for my tales. Where do I pull my inspiration from? And the long and short answer is: everywhere at once.

The book I sought to write was based on snippets and extracts from memorable moments throughout my life. It is a compilation of every book I wanted to tell my way. Every movie I felt was missing something more. And every song whose lyrics stoked my imagination. A spark of an idea would start, based on a chance encounter or new set of information. And in my mind it would snowball through my backlog of interactions with the world; picking up bits and pieces to form a full character, a full setting, a full scene.

I take detailed notes on the thoughts that gain the most steam. From there I flesh out the narrative and over-arching plot. As such, I’ve formed a few tenets I try to live life by. These tenets help push me towards new, creative revelations. Therefore–in doing so–I keep my ideas fresh and interesting for the reader. More so, for myself.

It's important to embrace new experiences, even if you’re not interested or think they might suck. It’s almost never a bad idea to try something once. And if your bias is confirmed, a bad experience will likely make a great story.

Break away from your genre. Strong stories are found in strong characters. And strong characters can be found anywhere. If you’re writing a fantasy novel, don’t just look for ideas in other fantasy novels. It’s definitely good to familiarize yourself with fellow fantasy authors–and build on their stories. But sometimes if you’re stuck (anywhere within your writing), it’s refreshing to look somewhere outside your chosen genre.

For example, I read Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams as part of my friends’ book club. It follows a documented and real-life wildlife adventure the author took to see endangered species throughout the world. I wasn’t expecting to get so engrossed in a journal of his trip, but it really opened my eyes to the amazing places that exist in the world.

Most importantly, it gave me ideas for amazing places I could incorporate into my own writer's world.

Use lessons meant for other media. A past-time I enjoy is analyzing media. Be it films, tv shows, comics, or music; I like to break media down and discover what makes them work. I look for what notes (musical or otherwise) hit hard, as well as why did they have that effect. Furthermore, I look for what the creator did to achieve such a result.

One example is the way director Christopher Nolan frames his shots in movies. Or the way Japanese manga artist, Eiichiro Oda, organizes his panels. Similarly, the way actor Steve Carrell delivers his lines as Michael Scott on the television show The Office. Each of these are examples of methods that can provide lessons for re-interpreting various forms of media to fit your narrative.

Think to yourself, why am I enjoying this? And how can I use it to create something others will enjoy?

Don’t be afraid to steal ideas. Seriously, it’s 2019. There isn’t really such a thing as an original idea. Still, what you can do is show the world your own original take on established ideas. Take from other authors, take from famous works, take from an idea your buddy mentioned and
make it your own.

Obviously I’m not advocating plagiarism. Yet, if you see an idea you’re interested in exploring, don’t turn away just because the cavern is already so deep. The world is vast. While countless people may have ventured into the forest, no one has explored it in the unique way you would.

With these thoughts in mind, I strove to learn something new every day. To experience as many unique works as I could, and branch out to discover things I never would have thought of. And it was the culmination of this mindset, as well as many other factors that make me, that resulted in the creation of The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi. It’s a story that I put a lot of myself into, and one that is based on countless people before me. So I encourage you to check it out, and maybe I can be a source of inspiration for your journey.

"She emerged within a dark sea of green, shielding her eyes against the crescent moon’s pale blaze. The twinkling stars hummed softly, discordant against the chattering birds below. The lush leaves rippled in the breeze, tempting Fi to dip her toes in for a swim. The wind blew at her back and she turned east to face it. The fresh air carried the salty spray of the Shimmering Sea. Although she could not see it, she knew it was right there. Her ears caught the distant waves crashing against the shore. One last step, she thought."

Follow Peter and Fi as they work together, each searching for something uniquely special to them through the four kingdoms of their known world. It’s a tale of fantastical beasts, peculiar characters, remarkable settings, and a unique brand of biochemistry-based magic. A story that focuses on meaningful character interactions, delicate world building, and intense action battles.

Kelvyn Fernandes decided to follow his dream of becoming an author after graduating from McMaster University with a degree in Biochemistry. He enjoys travelling and going on adventures, with his favourite pastime being back-country canoeing in Algonquin Park. He uses both his experiences with nature and education in the sciences to shape the world of the stories he writes.


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