Catching the Spark

I wish I got story ideas from reading nonfiction. I know a lot of writers do. It seems like the logical choice. Usually, though, when I read nonfiction, I’m reading to educate myself. I think if I read nonfiction just for pleasure, I might be more open to the creative spark. Maybe I’m concentrating too hard. I’m not sure.

For me, reading fiction is what gives me the spark. The more I read, the more the stories sort of mulch together, and suddenly ideas leap out and strike me like lightning bolts.

Everyone knows that there are wizard bones under the marsh mud and that the fish and the birds that live in the marsh are strange creatures. They have got magic in them.

These two lines from Kelly Link’s The Wizards of Perfil sizzle with energy for me. Look at all those fabulous elements. Wizard bones. Magic that leaks like it’s radioactive. Strange marsh creatures. Subterranean power sources. The idea that all this fantasy is common knowledge. And that’s why Kelly Link is boss, because pretty much every line she writes is crammed full of amazing. It makes my fingers hungry.

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