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Sources of Inspiration: Other People’s Stories

One of my favorite bookstores moved away. It was the closest thing I had to a local bookstore.

On a sorrowful whim, I picked up The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. Other stories were included besides the title story. The Company of Wolves was one of them.

Years ago, I’d watched the movie which was based on this story. The Company of Wolves had been one of first experiences with fairy tale recreations, shaping and influencing my own work.

Almost as soon as I opened The Bloody Chamber and started to read it, I put it down again. Not because I disliked the story. I wanted to transcribe the quote and share it.

This was the first of many stops. More quotes awaited me, plus what I read kept giving me ideas of my own. I wanted to capture those slivers of potential story, make a note of them before they could slip away.

By the time I finished The Bloody Chamber, I’d written two original stories, three fanfics, and had transcribed a host of quotes I was eager to share with Thorns & Ink.

This was only after reading the first story.

When I finished the entire book, I’d come up with a flash fiction version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, The Eighth Dwarf (way too late to meet a submission call Dale Lowry shared, alas!) along with a dozen other stories. I picked up Anais Nin’s Delta Venus, which had sat neglected on my shelf for too long. I alternated between The Bloody Chamber and Delta Venus, taking notes and writing all the way.

I finished The Bloody Chamber with a sigh of regret. It had been the sort of read I lived for, which allowed me to sink my teeth into some truly creative material and draw out inspiration for myself. Yes, this is a violent metaphor. It’s also quite appropriate for this particular collection of stories.

Seldom do I read something which inspires me to write this much.

Has something like this ever happened to you, dear readers? Ever pick up a book, only to find yourself putting down to write, again and again? Do certain reads spark your creativity in ways that set them apart from others?

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