Reading Burroughs attuned me to coincidences – like I look up and see my cat Miracle looking at me, and then look back down and see my last post on this site titled Miracles. By being receptive to these rhymes in life you start to get attuned to the rhymes within your stories.
Back when I drew a lot, before art teachers killed my enthusiasm in favour of traditionalism, my art teacher saw that within the intricate detail of the drawings I was doing – I honestly never sketched at this point – there was the possibility of exploding details and constructing a series of drawings like a series of exquisite corpse. It would have been great if this had survived in the visual realm, but it did at least carry through into my writing.
There are no background characters. I believe the Babylon 5 episode was called View From The Gallery and was inspired by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the Tom Stoppard play exploded out from two characters in Hamlet, and it gave us something we would not have seen if we had just focused on the main characters all the time. I have done it with This Burning World, and with Fiction Designate and it has become a part of my overall thinking when writing – background characters speak up and ask for their story to be told as well. It enriches the tapestry, deepens the world, and increases the verisimilitude.
Who doesn’t become a character in a writer’s writing? What might not inspire something that is game changing for a story? I have written cats inspired by my cats, but also people sometimes. Miracle has made her contributions to my fiction, and to my poetry. And isn’t that the miracle of creativity?