#5OnFri: Five Curiosities for Writing Inspiration

by Dee Willson
published in Writing


Like many writers, I got the idea for my book, A Keeper’s Truth, in a dream, that four am buzz that had me giddy, watching the scene play out in excruciating detail, the characters as real as life, voices clear and strong in my head. Jotting the scene on paper wasn’t a conscious choice, but a necessity. Like breathing. I’m not the first writer to experience this sensation, and I won’t be the last, but what really got me hooked, was the research this dream led me too.

I’m a detail oriented, it’s-gotta-be-factual kinda girl. Do I love fantasy and science fiction? Hell ya, it’s all good fun, but for me it’s gotta be rooted in something I can get my head around, something tangible, something that could be real. This thought process led me to the local book store and library to investigate myths and folklore, to make sense of the dream I’d had. And this is where I was caught, hook, line, and sinker, on what would eventually tell the story of A Keeper’s Truth.

Here, in no particular order, are the five major points of interest from my novel, A Keeper’s Truth. These curiosities still have me riveted today:

AKT-e-book-cover-final-1400x2100-200x3001) Vampires, Mermaids, Witches, Shapeshifters, Gods, and Ghosts!

These are some of the oldest myths known to man. People have been telling stories of these creatures for generations, long before the written word.

Had you asked me before I’d researched ancient myths and folklore what came to mind when I thought of a vampire, the honest woman in me would’ve said Edward Cullen. Like everyone, I am a product of current day culture. But vampires, for example, have a long history, one that has changed with every generation, and the vampires of old are nothing like the ones we know today. Mermaid legends tell of murderous creatures that sing to kill, and witches were far less gruesome before religion won the popularity contest. Myths and folklore don’t prove any one of these stories to be true, but they set the stage for curiosity. What were these old myths based on? Why were they so important that elders shared them with their young? Fascinating stuff.

2) The Mysteries of the Ocean

    Seventy-one percent of Earth’s surface is covered in ocean. More than half is over three thousand meters deep. Less than four percent of our underwater world has been explored by modern man, the technology to reach it doesn’t exist.

Think about that. We’ve put men on the moon, but have never set foot on the vast majority of our own planet. What the heck is down there, leagues under the sea? Sunken cities, living beings we’ve never seen?  Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. But think of the possibilities! Now think of this: Accounts of entire civilizations obliterated by epic catastrophe have been passed for over 8000 years, in almost every language, in every culture. By comparison, Christianity is approximately 1000-1500 years old, and practiced by 33% of the worlds’ population. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

3) We (human beings) Know Very Little About Our Ancient Past, Our History

Sure, we know recent history, but very little predating the written word. I found this fascinating. I’ve watched History Chanel. I went to Sunday School. But the reality is, much of our history is speculative, up for interpretation, theory. The Ice Age, for example, is a theory, not a fact. The theory alters as technology uncovers more and more detail. Evolution is another theory. You get the point. We don’t really know where we come from. We don’t have enough proof, factual information. And what we do know changes with time. Coming to terms with this – being open to what we don’t know – blew me away.

4) The Near-Universal Concept of the Human Soul

    There are many things different religions have in common, but a detail present in almost all religious beliefs worldwide is the concept of the human soul.

When you think about it, it’s quite fantastical, the idea that somewhere, inside each and every human being (or living creature) resides a soul. Some believe the soul is a living entity within us, some think of it as a spiritual presence. Even science weighs in on the debate, claiming the human soul can be measured at 21 grams, a weight that disappears when the soul leaves the body upon death. Stories of heaven, hell, the soul’s return to another life (reincarnation) abound. All sounds a little hocus pocus, don’t you think? Yet millions of people, from all walks of life, on every continent on this planet, insist they have a soul. That’s a pretty powerful belief.

5) Prior to 1907, Dinosaurs Did Not Exist.

Just over one hundred years ago, man discovered dinosaur bones. Think about that, only a few generations ago, nothing more than a tiny blip in mankind’s history, we discovered an entire race of life that existed on our planet. What did we believe prior to 1907?  What existed before dinosaurs? Today, our children can tell you what dinosaurs ate, where they lived, and which were highest on the food chain. Yet had your great grandmother uttered a word about such creatures, she’d have been locked away, deemed mad. Oh, just consider the things we have not yet discovered!

The list of things that intrigue me are endless, and given my penchant for knowledge, I could spend my life researching the possibilities and never know the answers to even a small percentage of the questions floating in my head. Enough to write about forever.

What I do know, is that there is a lot I don’t know. There is a lot I will never know. But isn’t that awesome? Isn’t it amazing to wonder what our history could have been? Isn’t it thrilling to know we might, someday, have the technology to uncover more, in this life or another?

It’s got me, hook, line, and sinker.

What about you? Where do you find inspiration for your stories? Share in the comments below, or on social media, using the hashtag #5OnFri!


download-200x300Dee Willson felt the writer’s call at fifteen, when she penned her first novel and received her first rejection to go with it. Over twenty years later, Dee Willson has published short stories, interviews, contributed to blogs, and wrote the novel A Keeper’s Truth, followed by GOT (Gift of Travel). She currently resides in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at www.deewillson.com and on Twitter @denisewillson


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