Please welcome the fantasy Tim McWhorter to the blog today. He has graciously agreed to do a guest post. BUT FIRST...*insert requisite there's more exclamation here*
Tim McWhorter was born under a waning crescent moon, and while he has no idea what the significance is, he thinks it sounds really cool to say. A graduate of Otterbein College with a BA in Creative Writing, he is the author of the novella Shadows Remain, the suspense-thrillers, Bone White, and its sequel, Blackened, and a collection of short stories titled Swallowing The Worm and Other Stories. He lives the suburban life just outside of Columbus, OH, with his wife, a handful of children and a few obligatory 'family' pets that have somehow become solely his responsibility. He is currently hard at work on another thriller with just enough horror to keep you up at night. He is available for conversation through Twitter (@Tim_McWhorter), Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Tim-Mcwhorter-author) and his website (www.timmcwhorter.com).
“Where do you get your ideas from?”
While the first answer that usually pops into my head is ‘Preposition Street,’ (Thanks, Mike!) I generally keep that one to myself. I’m good at being a smartass, but it’s arrogant to go around flaunting it. So whether the question is phrased using proper grammar or not, the sentiment seems to be the most often posed to writers and authors alike. And if not the most, it’s at least in the top three. Inquiring minds want to know, and while I haven’t taken an official poll, I’m sure I’m not alone in offering the occasional shrug as an answer.
The truth is that there simply is no one place or source from which I draw my ideas. There’s no wishing well that I throw a coin into and get rewarded with a shiny new story line; no goblet of fire that spits out ideas in return for tossing in a piece of paper with my name on it. (Merely a shameless attempt at earning brownie points from my wife for including a Harry Potter reference.) The origins of my ideas are so varied, there’s no way to combine them into one all-encompassing source. They come to me in the shower, on my lengthy drive to work, or while I’m trying to get some much-needed sleep at 3 a.m. They just have a habit of coming around, even when not invited. But every once in awhile, a story idea springs up from a real life experience, and those have a special place in my heart. Write what you know, they say. Okay. Will do. For instance…
Back in the 80s, my friend, Rick, and I used to fish. A lot. One day we were out on Rick’s boat at Hoover Reservoir, doing what we could to diminish its smallmouth numbers. Or walleye. Or basically whatever we could get to take the bait. One of our mistakes that afternoon is that we had our backs to the west for too long as we trolled along the Eastern shoreline. By the time we noticed the massive storm coming, it was too late. The wind started whipping our jackets. I nearly lost my hat. Waves grew from gentle laps to white-capped swells. The wimpy trolling motor we were forced to use on that particular body of water was about as useful as a cow in stopping a tornado. The oars proved even more useless. The more we paddled, the further away from the west bank and Rick’s truck we got. Finally, exhausted and through beating our heads against the wall, we simply stopped paddling and allowed the current to carry us over to the other side of the lake. Once there, we were forced to set out on foot up a long curvy road surrounded by unfamiliar woods, rain hammering us from above.
In the end, everything turned out fine. We found a house, used their phone to call Rick’s dad and he came to give us a ride back to the other side of the lake where Rick’s truck and trailer were parked. It was a harrowing experience to say the least, but we came out of it relatively unscathed. But when I was brainstorming ideas for my first full-length novel, this experience came to mind and I thought, ‘what if…?’
And just like that (as if it were that simple) Bone White was born.
So that’s the answer to the age-old question of where I get my ideas. At least one of them. I took my own real life experience and ran with it, creating something much bigger and (hopefully) terrifying. And yes, Rick and I are still good friends. We still talk about the old days. Occasionally one of us will bring up that particular afternoon, which generally leads to a discussion of the book and me catching hell for what happened to him in it. But that’s a post for another day and a spoiler you’ll just have to discover for yourself.
Till next time, my friends…