Before I started writing with more serious goals in mind I was a reader. I wasn’t a voracious reader, but I read a lot. On occasion I ran across a book or story that forced me stop and think about how cool and inventive one aspect or another was. In the last few years, as I write more, I don’t read as much I did or as much as I would like, but I still run across those ideas which make me stop and say “Wow!” The biggest difference between me then and me now, is that when I find those moments, I step back and think, “That’s genius. I wish I’d thought of that.”
A few books in recent memory fit that bill for me. Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain (only the first book, the last two seemed rushed), Daemon by Daniel Suarez, and most recently V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. These moments of adoration aren’t limited to books. Robert Kirkman, the well-known creator of The Walking Dead comic, also writes, Outcast. I’m hooked on the back and forth battle between the main character’s personal demons and the demons attempting to take over the world. Then every once in a while, I find a movie or TV show that makes me feel the same. Some of the intricacies of the criminal underworld in “John Wick” are jaw-dropping. “Stranger Things” on Netflix pulls you in with a beautiful blend of horror, 80’s nostalgia, and a dash of sci-fi.
I love finding these worlds, characters, plots, and details scattered throughout different media. The desire to stumble upon that next moment is what keeps me going back. I don’t believe that any writer sets out to create that sense of envy, but I do believe that they attempt to bring something new to the table with each project. The knowledge that those fresh and ingenious ideas are still out there drive me to create new stories, new characters, and new worlds in my writing.