Tag Archives: ideas

#My5 - Influences, Inspirations, Ideas

Introducing: #My5

Attend any convention, sit in on a reading, or visit panel and during open Q&A, and you’ll hear a common question asked by someone in attendance. It’s a query every author gets. I’ve seen Neil Gaiman blog about it, Stephen King speak about it, and Ursula K. Le Guin write about it. It comes down to this:

“Where do you get your ideas?”

I think people assume that there is some hidden mystery or a big secret in being a writer. However, the truth is that inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere; the smallest thing can spark a multitude of ideas, and it’s different for every author. For me, I can imagine several key instances that have triggered something in my mind, ideas that have taken root and helped construct the world of The Bell Forging Cycle. I want to share those ideas, and I know others do as well, so I am introducing #My5, a new project I’m starting, focusing on inspiration and ideas. The goal is to create a familiar and straightforward format allowing published authors (indie or traditional) from any and all genres to share some of their inspirations for specific projects with their fans and peers. In these posts, writers will list five sources that influenced one of their projects and they’ll link to the blogs of others authors who are doing the same thing. There’s no rule on what you can find inspiring, be it music, television, books, speeches, landscapes, travel, or whatever; it’s all open. The key is that you can only pick five, no more, no less.

So, if you’re a published author who regularly blogs, you’re invited to participate! Just shoot me an email at hello at kmalexander.com and let me know you’re participating. Write your post, publish it, and link to others who have done the same. The goal is to create a network of ideas so we can share our inspirations together. You can download the #My5 Logo using any of the links below.


Download the #My5 Logo600×600 PNG: White | Black
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(Vector version available upon request.)


The first round of #My5 entries are coming really soon. So watch this space and follow me on Twitter! I’ll be posting my own and linking to others. Even the simplest thing can often spark amazing stories and complex worlds; inspiration abounds, let’s explore it.

China Miéville

The Appeal of the Fantastic

“Part of the appeal of the fantastic is taking ridiculous ideas very seriously and pretending they’re not absurd.”

China Miéville

Those who have been following both my writing and this blog know that alongside writers like Neil Gaiman, Mark Twain, and Ursula K. LeGuin, the English novelist China Miéville is one of my biggest influences.

Recently, I just finished his latest book, This Census Taker (and it was wonderful.) The fanboy in me wanted more so I shuffled some books around in my to-read stack so while on my way to Lilac City Comicon I was able to listen to the first half of the Iron Council (which I am also loving and regrettably have never read.) So, Miéville work and his process have been on my mind.

If you want more Miéville beyond his novels, make sure to check out his dissertation at the University of Kansas: Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory. I’ve featured it in past Friday Link Packs, but you can watch the full lecture on YouTube. It’s great and worth watching.

Chuck Close

Inspiration is for Amateurs

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

Chuck Close

Kari-Lise shared this quote with me today; it was too good not to post here. It’s solid advice from an incredibly prolific artist. So, what are you going to do? Wait around for the lighting to strike or are you going to show up and get to work? In the end, it’s up to you.