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Find writing magic in your favorite movies and books, part 2

As I write my next book, I find it helpful to think back on what has excited me about other stories or characters.

In my last post, I shared a few of my favorite scenes or ideas from the movies. Below is my list of recent in-print favorites. These are either scenes, images, objects or themes that have stuck with me and made me wish I’d come up with the them.


Karen Marie Moning’s “Fever” series.  In her fantasy world, “Death-by-Sex” Faes can turn their powers off and on, capturing a person with lust. One of these Faes uses a pearl necklace in a very erotic, highly charged way. It’s one of the most unique and memorable “sex” scenes (there’s no actual sex) I’ve ever read. This is one of those scenes I wish I’d written. I’ve written more about this in my post, “How to Write a Good Sex Scene.”

Another idea I covet is Philip Pullman’s daemons in “His Dark Materials” series. Animals as daemons to humans is an idea older than Socrates, but Pullman makes it modern and relevant. Turning an old idea on it’s head and making it new again can lead to some pretty great storytelling.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is another example of taking an old idea and making it fresh. The outdoor arena where the Hunger Games takes place is reminiscent of Roman Coliseum days mixed with current reality television themes.

Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. The protagonist, Anita Blake, has a highly unusual profession. She’s an “animator,” one who legally raises zombies, and a part-time vampire slayer. Vampire slayers we’ve seen before but the animator is new (at least to me). Another unique profession is Stephanie Plum as female bounty hunter in the Janet Evanovich books—dreamed up way before “Dog, the Bounty Hunter,” became popular. I like characters with unique professions that put them in a position where they can do “detective work” but not have to be detectives.

What has thrilled you in other’s stories and how can you bring something similarly unique and exciting to your own work?

Exercise: Make a list of your favorite scenes or ideas. Why do you like them? How can you duplicate that in your own work? (I don’t mean steal the actual scene or idea but think about how you can be equally inventive in your own story).

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