Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Origin of (Story) Species

For me, this time, it started with three seeds: "Molly B. Polka Party," a reader's conundrum, and a scandal.

One or two of you might remember me posting about lounging around one weekend, pushing buttons on the TV remote. I couldn't find anything worth watching. Weekends are infuriating that way. On the very days you can kick back and relax, there's nothing on the tube except Independence Day, reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show," and atrociously bad movies on Sy Fy (or Psi Phi or however cute way they spell it now). Maybe it's a corporate conspiracy to get us out shopping to boost the economy. Maybe the owners of cable and satellite networks are too damned cheap to pay people to work on weekends.

Anyway, just as I was about to lumber off the bed and, I don't know, clean the dogs' ears or something, I heard it -- music from my youth, the songs of my heritage.


Listening to the music put some boogie in my blood and made me smile. Someday, I thought, I have to write a story that features a polka band. Hell yeah. The genre's glutted with rock stars. And who doesn't like polka bands? Well, probably most people, but that didn't deter me. I can be contrary.

On another day, I stopped by a blog where a little discussion was going on about one of those weird Goodreads challenges. You know, like "Read three books that mention three different vehicles, then three more books with characters who get into accidents involving those vehicles." The particular discussion I came across involved an alphabet challenge -- specifically, how difficult it was to find titles beginning with certain letters. I remember feeling fortunate The Zero Knot was out then, because it provided readers with a Z option. Then the discussion slipped into my subconscious and, apparently, lodged there.

The scandal? That input came later. I won't get any more explicit. Gotta leave something for you to wonder about.

So those are the origins of Xylophone. It's an example of how most writers' minds work: absorbing a nugget here, a tidbit there; storing them away intentionally or unwittingly; rattling along life's track, unaware of mental scraps being thrown together and some spontaneous alchemy suddenly binding the scraps into a story.

Mobry's Dick and Abercrombie Zombie began as titles that just popped into my mind. Fugly might've too, as well as Bastards and Pretty Boys. The British "Queer as Folk" -- or rather, one of the soundtrack songs (the lyrics of which I misunderstood because we had a cheap, crappy bedroom TV at the time) -- inspired precious_boy. A young Charlie Hunnam contributed.
Sometimes I just want to explore new territory, which is how the Utopia-X series and Mongrel came to be. Sometimes I want to pay homage to old stomping grounds, which is how Electric Melty Tingles came to be. Certain themes have intrigued me for a long time, like the nature of religion, and magic. And I've always loved vampires.

The "X" book is coming out on December 12. Between now and then, expect some music on this blog. ;-)


Jenre said...

You're a canny lady, KZ. Thank you for providing an X book for all those of us who are currently stuck at X in their A-Z Challenge :).

I shall look forward to reading this!

K. Z. Snow said...

:-D You're welcome, Jen.

Actually, I wasn't being all that canny. The title sprang from the storyline. The alphabet-challenge discussion might've provided some sort of subconscious trigger, but that didn't occur to me until afterward.