What do violence, vampires and sexbots have in common you ask? Fodder for story ideas for one, and episodes of Stuff to Blow Your Mind for another.
I’m always surprised when I hear a writer say that they don’t what to write about – my first thought is that I don’t know which of the ideas in my scraps of note paper, tabs in OneNote or files in Google Docs to focus on with my limited writing time. And I think most writers are like that – the spark comes form the smallest strike of the flint. It’s turning that spark into a narrative with character development and plot.
One place I’ve found a number of ideas is listening to the Stuff To Blow Your Mind podcast.
The roots of human violence
For example, recently their podcast on the roots of violence came up in my twitter (I can’t imagine why, I say tongue firmly in cheek). In the episode they talked about Steven Pinker’s book ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’, in which he argued that society is growing less violent. The gist, if I recall (haven’t read the book, just listened to the podcast), is that we are growing less violent both because of historical forces and because we can name our demons. And naming them is the first step to fighting them.
It was an interesting podcast. I didn’t always agree with Pinker’s conclusions — for example, is it accurate that racial violence is more often perpetrated on the male gender (judging from the media, yes) or is it possible that his definition of violence is inherently masculine, not accounting for the violence of rape and denigration that are often bestowed on women in such situations — I don’t know. BUT it made me think.
And that I think is another key component of bettering not only myself but of society bettering itself – when we as individuals can face challenging topics with open mind and honest discussion.
That was a very serious episode, but they have episodes that run the gamut. I don’t know if they’re just really good at finding interesting topics, or they’re just really good at their delivery. I imagine it’s both. However, I know they are good at researching the topic at hand and bringing different opinions, research, history to bear.
Vampires and sexbots
Their episode on vampires also gave me some ideas to think about for my Bloodborne Pathogens series (check out chapters 1 to 3). It actually influenced the fundamental premise of what my vampires are made of.
Another episode that directly inspired a story idea, that I just need to find time to write, is the one on sexbots. Caution: there are some challenging and disturbing ideas in the episode. But again, it made me think.
Definitely fodder for the creative mind.