Nothing is True. Everything is Connected.
Tag: <span>Sylum: Essay Series</span>

Inspiration – Need Some?!

After Bob 2’s Post on Character Motivation – I figured it would be good to have a post on Writer Inspiration.

As much as your Characters need motivation within the story.  You as the writer need to be inspired by the characters and their story – to find their own Motivation and in some aspects your own.

We can be inspired by many things: Place, Movie, Person, Event…

Here at Sylum the author’s need to be open to all inspiration, because one never knows where it will come from.



For instance: CSI Miami – where Sylum all began.  The death of Timothy Speedle was the inspiration for the beginning of this whole Universe.  Little did I know this is where we would end up, but still it was the starting point.  And we can’t forgot CSI and NCIS as the original Inspiration for all things Sylum.















Over time the Sylum Authors have found inspiration from all areas: Movie, Books, TV Shows, Animation, World History, World Events, and sometimes just an image.



How can anyone forgot some of these great movies that have inspired character and story.












It’s just not movies that inspire or TV Shows.  Places and People can be a major source of Inspiration.  Whether a building suddenly gives you that insight of what the Manor, Villa, House, Winery may look like, and you find yourself scribbling down notes, dimensions, and sketching/taking pictures of every detail so you can describe it on paper.



Or it’s a person who’s life story helps you focus on what you’re doing, giving you ideas on how to motivate your character, or hell even background information for a storyline.  Each of these things can inspire you as a writer, which in turn will give that scene some clarity and that character some depth.


Music can be a major Inspiration.  That piece of score or lyrics to a song – can Inspire a Bunny to go beserk at the worst possible moment.  It can help set the scene, put you as the write into the mode, and hit you in the heart/soul and make you feel your characters emotions.   Music as been very important in Sylum for Inspiration.  And I’m not just talking about the Graphic Gecko – who is evil and sitting behind me with his playlist demanding Videos to be Made. Ignoring the Gecko and getting back to what I was doing – oh yes Music as Inspiration.  I personally found scores as a good way to set scenes.  I’ve got playlists for characters, arcs, stories, and moments.  Writing a Hunter stalking through a club, had club music on.  Battle sequences had music from Transformers, Resident Evil, etc…

*Snags Computer*

Graphic Gecko here!! I ran off with the keyboard to post inspiring music for Bj and also for all the writers out there.  HA! Crap she’s found me…. Listen. Be Inspired……

*Snags Computer Back*


Now that I’ve locked the Gecko up!! *glares at it* Where was I – oh yes music!  There is many many pieces of music I could play to inspire – but this one has been the most recent.  Enjoy – and if you like the music let me know.  And of course anything by Linkin Park – makes the Graphic Gecko go batshit 😀



Let’s see we’ve covered Movies, TV Shows, People, Places, and Music.  So what else can be Inspiring?  Books?  Well Books are your original media for Inspiration.  It was books first that got people’s imaginations going.  Whether you were going to Narnia, Mordor, or to the Center of the Earth.  Books are also your greatest asset when it comes to Research and Inspiration.  Google is your friend, but your library is your best friend.   The many times I’ve pulled books off the shelf to check historical dates, locations, and events.  Or pulled up Maps to make sure that country existed at the time.    And as much as modern media (Movies and TV Shows) Books are still the great inspiration.  As a matter of fact  there is a recent book that despite my misgivings has been very inspiring for major storyline for Sylum.


Though if you think Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter changed major storyline – Let me tell you this.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Between the book and the movie – This story has changed the course of Sylum forever!

 You think I’m exaggerating – wait till the story comes out (soon very soon).


So what’s left to be Inspired by? You love that favorite TV Show, or that Movie was just awesome!! There’s that favorite books series you’ve read since a kid.  And damn it every time that Band plays you can totally just see that scene.  You have a poster of that person who inspires you, and images of that place that makes you feel at home.  So what else can Inspire you? Video Games??? Yeah not the first place most would look for inspiration, but Games today are getting sophisticated  and it’s just not jumping over barrels to save the girl from the evil monkey (DIE MONKEY DIE – oh sorry flashback).


For Sylum there is already a major character that was inspired by Video Games that developed into a movie series.



But recently another character has began to emerge into the Sylum Universe.  He’s shown up here and there, but soon you will be seeing more of him.








Now that we’ve talked about the wide spectra of Inspiration.  What has Inspired Sylum?  I’ve mentioned a few throughout this post.  So what’s coming up in the future? What has Inspired enough to start major storyline.   Well lets see shall we?

Timothy Quinn’s – Demons and Angels – Inspired by: 


Bj Jones – Roads Untraveled – Inspired by: 


Then there’s this guy…..



And the latest Inspiration…..

Motivation – Need Some!!!!

Why do you get out of the bed in the morning?

Are you going to work?

Feeding the baby?

Running to the bathroom?

Heading to the shower?

Making coffee and lunches?


Need it, learn to love it, use it all the time.

It should seriously be one of the deadliest of sins for any writer to assume that their readers have clue #1 on what the hell is going on, and this is a fact as true for those who write original fiction as it is for those who write in fandom.

Hey, look just because YOU are utterly addicted to  a certain show and can channel the characters like it’s second nature, that don’t mean the rest of us have any damn idea what you’re blathering on about.

No, seriously we don’t.  That’s because we don’t all watch, read or listen to the same things.  And while the world would be very, very boring if we did, the only way you can get any of us interested in your little corner of the ‘squeeing’ world of whatever it is you’re writing about, is to tell us about it in the first place.

So, if your character has no sense of humor and suddenly develops one, we need to know the motivation for that or (s)he is going to sound like a moron who forgot to take their meds.

If your character suddenly smacks a bitch, we need a reason for it.  People who do that without one generally tend to get arrested, so unless you’re planning on that, give us motive.

Motive maketh character.  Character formeth motive.

It’s like saying ‘you are what you eat’ but you’re not really a tuna fish sandwich.

At least I hope you’re not, because if you are, why are you reading this and not sitting in my lunch bag right now?

Wait, where are MY meds while I’m on the subject…?

*pause for dramatic effect*

Okay where was I?  Yes, motive.

Everyone does everything for a motive.  Little is ever random.  Coincidence, yes but not random.  Coincidence is the plot device of last resort when you can’t find a motive, and if you use that too often you’re going to sound like a schmuck with no plot in the first place.  Having every goddamn Vampire on the face of earth Turned by some random rogue is unacceptable.  It’s dumber than mud and suggests desperation for lack of ideas.

So get creative.  Hell, get a little wild if you have to.  Whatever it takes.  Figure it out.  Post-It Notes are your friend.  So are whiteboards, research materials, bits of string and make-shift maps on the dining room table.

You want someone to know about Vampires?  Figure out how they know, even if you have to go back 5000 years in earth history to find out where, when, why and how.

You want someone to get up and go out, give them a purpose even its only to go pee in a dark alley.

You want someone to do the dramatic, angsty, flaily exit thing then give them a reason to go, and be sure that everyone knows it.

Writing is hard.

I get that.

But with a little contemplation, it can be a whole lot better than just vaguely stringing words together that might make sense in your own mind, but will make others laugh at you or run away screaming insanely into the night because they can’t figure out what the hell they just read.  People rarely come back to read more if they can’t make sense of your work, and knowing later on why you made a total lash up of it all really doesn’t help that much either.  Your readers don’t know that your car broke down, your work colleague is a bitch, your dog ate your harddrive or your sister just had a baby.

Though if that’s your plot line for your story you at least have motive.  It’s just  not motive for being a total dweep with your writing, unless you want to educate them on the definition of ‘how to have a nervous breakdown’.  And if that’s the case, then get a journal to record your personal thoughts in and get it all out of your system.  Maybe someone digging in the dirt a few bazillion years from now will find it, publish it as a research paper and use it to justify why the 21st Century was full of people who had no damn idea what to write any more.

Either that or it’ll be the greatest thing since you know who decided Vampires should be twee little girls who all sparkle when they bite you…

*eyeroll*  Wait.  I’m going off plot…  Losing the will to live.

Motivation required.

What was it again?

Oh right.  Yes.



Would I kid about this stuff??

No, I would not.  I’ve been doing it for years.  I don’t always get it right (the famous ‘where the hell did the brothers go in the midde of all this?’ conversation still gives me the willies) but practice makes perfect.

See?  Practice.  It’s a perfectly valid motivation to attain perfection.

*cue meaningful speech from Shifu to Po before The Kung-Fu Panda kicks the bad guy’s butt*

Even if you have no motivation yourself, you can always get it from others.  Characters do that too.  Remember those books you were forced to read at school for Lit class?  The ones with no purpose, no goal and a boring amount of very long words that send you to sleep?  Yeah, there’s no motivation.  No motivation to care about the characters because they have no motivation either.  They’re just there, hanging around, being.

And then after that there’s no motivation to read about them again.

Motive gets the hero from the beginning of his journey to his ending.

Just ask Luke Skywalker.

Or Han Solo.  He’s a little easier to determine on the motive front.  He starts out wanting money.  Great motive.

Okay so there’s motive for plot, plot devices, character and keeping your readers interested.


Need some.


Now where did that tuna fish sandwich go…?

Some Thoughts on Character

Every now and then, I find I run into something that makes me sit up and seriously take notice.

Generally this doesn’t happen at first. There might be a lot of eyerolling and sighing going on, but gradually it creeps up on you and in the end it’s so much in your face you can’t help but take a deeper interest than you originally intended.

Several moments hit me in the head just lately…

The first was seeing a new interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe in the movie The Raven. I was hoping for a horror film but got a damn good thriller that made me want to go back and reread what I knew of Poe and what I had first seen of his work many many years ago in Lit class.

It was so nicely done, with such a huge amount of respect for Poe’s work and for his desperately sad and grief stricken life, that he’s headed for Sylum.

The film turned him into a character that became somehow much more sympathetic and accessible. It gave him more layers than you’d first assume on perusing his materials. He was more than dark. He was difficult and weird and would have been a very interesting conversationalist if I could’ve sat him down and asked about his life.

The second moment of ‘flail! Whoa that’s awesome!’ came with reconsidering the film The Illusionist.

I’d seen it before and though based on a very so-so short story, it struck me as being worthy of watching more than once, and as that happened so Eisenheim’s character gradually came more and more to life for me in a complex and convoluted story that you have to not blink at or walk away from or you’ll miss the pointers.

He too is a complex man and he too will be heading to Sylum.

Y’see sometimes it’s all too easy to dismiss character, to gloss over it and to treat it as a two dimensional and shallow thing, especially in books and movies that are coming out just lately. Assumptions as to motivation, reasoning, speech, education, action/reaction, can be so weakly created and/or portrayed that in the end the audience is left with little but the feeling that what they’ve just read, watched or experienced is no more than a brief distraction in time with little impact upon their life.

Some might say it has a great deal to do with the ‘soundbite’ culture we live in, and the lack of attention span that is encouraged so much in mainstream media and the general social environment, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m just throwing the thought out there is all.

The third moment that snuck up and hit me, came from Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Yeah, I’d dismissed this as silly. The idea was just too daft for words, but then I watched the trailer; very well edited in the extreme and with music and voice over to make you sit up and pay attention. Then came the movie and finally the book. Yes yes, I tend to go for books after the movie or risk being disappointed with the film because the book is stuck in my head. And in the end, despite there still being moments of ‘really are you serious?’ in both of them, it was character that leapt out at me.

Character development and creation was so painstakingly done, and so very well represented on the screen, that as a result I can say it was the most enjoyable movie of the summer for me. But it took a while to really hit me in the head.

Yes sometimes there are too many other distractions and it’s too easy to gloss over a book or a film or a play, or a show or something, and yet it’s not hard to see when things are shallow, at least if you look at it with better eyes than those of the ‘just distract me with the shiny for five seconds’ mentality that we all suffer from to one degree or another.

Take time sometimes to really watch, to deeply read, to seriously consider, and then do it all over again.

It’s actually worth the effort once you start to go deeper into your subject matter and you’ll suddenly find yourself encouraged to want to know more.

Make character worthwhile.

Your readers and viewers will love you for it.

Enter the Tiny Annoying Englishman

His name is Henry O. Sturges.

1 s on the end, and don’t ask what the O. is for.

He’s sneaky.  I mean it, really he is.

Who else could send his Mate in as a distraction while he himself herds plot bunnies in the back door?

If you have no idea who or what the hell I’m talking about, check out Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter.

Or you could just sit back and wait for his Private Journals to show up in Sylum starting this Advent.

He’s chatty, at least on paper.

I leave you with this thought:

Abraham:  *shifts uncomfortably*

Henry:  *headtilt*  I like it.

Abraham:  I look old.

Henry:  *grins lecherously* It’s the thousand yard stare and the spread legs and the tension in your shoulders…

Abraham:  *flails* You are not turned on by that?

Henry:  Remember the time I had you in the…?

Abraham: *slaps hand over Mate’s mouth as people stare*  Not now Henry!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


Yeah most wouldn’t think this would be any good.  And I admit that well I wasn’t that interested, but then I found the book on sale and said okay – its Civil War History and Vampires – two of my favorite things.

So I thought – lets give it a try.

And shocked as I was I actually enjoyed the book.  There was some moments of OMG Really?  And the author did insert himself into the story which had me rolling my eyes at the beginning.  And he pulled a Dan Brown by using ‘facts’ and real places/people to give the book a feel of reality instead of fantasy.  Cause hello Vampire Hunter!  But once you got into the story it kept you interested and intrigued to find out how all of this would play out through Lincoln’s life, the Civil War and his Presidency.

The ending made me *blink* and I won’t give it away for those who are still interested in reading it.

Now after reading it I was interested in seeing the movie.  Despite the giggling moments of every time Lincoln called his friend Speed – yes folks the character’s last name was Speed.  I giggled a lot.  The movie was very good – had some really dramatic scenes, some headdesking moments, and there are still a OMG Seriously moments.

Overall – worth the read and worth seeing the movie.

There are some major differences between the book/movie with all adaptations – but both still hold their own.

As for Sylum if you’ve read ‘Under the Oak Tree’ you will know how this will play into the series. But I’ll leave you with an image – so you can speculate of things to come.

PS: The music – very inspiring.

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