Steal like an artist —

“And Nine Other Things Nobody Told Me”

This is a fun list of advice for writers.

I laughed! It’s so true! YOU TOTALLY DO STEAL IDEAS. Where else are you supposed to get them?

A handful of my own examples, off the top of my head:

The Empire of Tolounn in THE FLOATING ISLANDS is totally Rome, recast into my world.

The Floating Islands themselves? Based on Greek city states.

The main problem in ISLANDS? Got the idea from the Roman invasion of Syracuse, as seen in Gillian Bradshaw’s THE SAND-RECKONER (a great book!)

I came up with Mienthe in THE LAW OF THE BROKEN EARTH from a minor character from THE SAND-RECKONER. Though the two characters are (obviously) totally distinct, mine has a similar past history as Bradshaw’s. I didn’t even use a trace of the particular conflict that was central to Bradshaw’s minor character, but nevertheless, she was Mienthe’s initial inspiration.

That scene in THE CITY IN THE LAKE where the king doesn’t spurn his older son in favor of his younger? I wrote that because of a scene in CJ Cherryh’s FORTRESS IN THE EYE OF TIME where the king, dying, does continue to reject his older son. It was a brutal scene and, in CITY, when I found my characters in a similar situation, I gave my scene a different ending.

The keiso in the (forthcoming) HOUSE OF SHADOWS? Got the idea from reading MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and GEISA.

You get ideas from everywhere! As they pass through your head and hands and onto your keyboard, you make them your own. That’s kind of what writing is!

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