Tag Archives: Dante Alighieri

Inspiration

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Inspiration can be very fickle. It is much like a painting: one person may find in it a grandiose story while another sees only a monkey staring at a banana. Neither are wrong in their interpretation. It is just a matter of perspective.

I am often asked what my inspiration was for the Dark Lands series and whether it had anything to with Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Though I wish I could ascribe it to my detailed reading of Dante I have to admit that my knowledge of his work is based mostly on an X-Men story written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Romita, Jr.

Dark Lands came from my overactive imagination, commonly known as A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) in politically correct circles. I was in the middle of a Bible Study and one of the participants began discussing the concept of Purgatory. I suddenly began to imagine a world that not only existed between life and death, but time as well. Quickly I turned over a handout I had and wrote on it the basic foundation for the Dark Lands, its relationship to our world, who dwells there, how someone gets there, and what powers they would need to survive living there.

I then imagined what it would be like if someone from our world suddenly and abruptly awoke in the Dark Lands and how they would adapt. From there I created my two protagonists, Webb and Sundown, who would basically serve as the proverbial tour guides for the series, and subsequently created the characters, good and bad, with whom they would interact. Within an hour I literally had the entire series planned, scribbled on the back of a handout. I reviewed these notes several times, fleshing out some details, leaving others to develop as I wrote. I think that is one of the key points that all writers must understand: you will not write the great American novel in one sitting. You will write, rewrite, rewrite again and again. You will do this so often that you may actually begin to loathe your book before it ever gets published. A musician was once asked what it was like to have a number one song. Their reply was that “you had better be prepared to sing that song every day for the rest of your life.” Writing is the same way excepting it is on the front end. You need to be prepared to cultivate your story until it is as perfect as possible. Then, you hand it over to an editor who will tell you how fantastic your story is before completely dismantling it. That, however, is another story for another time. God Bless.

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