Where Do You Get Your Ideas

Writers are often asked this question.  The truth is, I get more more ideas than I know what to do with and they come from many sources.  Prominent for me, however, are odd news stories that just make my imagination start sparking in unusual ways.

Take the article I found below that a friend posted on Facebook.  I immediately wished I wrote either historical or horror novels, because here’s where my thoughts went when reading about this human brain preserved for a millennium:

  • Historical Novel Idea:  The owner of the brain was a person accused of witchcraft or other devilish voodoo-like powers.  Upon being convicted (either formally or by a heathen mob) and hung to death, the head was cut off and disposed of in the bog separate from the body because it was believed the person would otherwise be resurrected from the dead and come back to haunt them all.
  • Horror Novel Idea:  The reason the brain is still in such good shape is not because of the preservation potential of the bog muck, but because evil resides within it.  In the brain lives a demon, perhaps, that used the skull as a “shell,” or the brain lies dormant due to an evil spell.  It has been in the bog all these years waiting to be released so that it can wreak havoc on the world.
  • Actually, this could even be an historical horror novel idea.  After the head is thrown into the bog, someone finds it or it rises to the surface and the evil they tried to prevent once again roams the earth.

“…damage to the neck vertebrae is consistent with a hanging. The head was then carefully severed from the neck using a small blade, such as a knife,” added O’Connor, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Bradford. “This was used to cut through the throat and between the vertebrae and has left a cluster of fine cut marks on the bone.”

The brain-containing skull was found at Heslington, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. O’Connor and her team suspect the site served a ceremonial function that persisted from the Bronze Age through the early Roman period. Many pits at the site were marked with single stakes. The remains of the man were without a body, but the scientists also found the headless body of a red deer that had been deposited into a channel.

Laser imaging, chemical analysis and other examinations revealed that the brain naturally preserved over the millennia. The scientists found no evidence for bacterial or fungal activity, and described the tissue as being “odorless…with a resilient, tofu-like texture.”

The condition of the brain is remarkable for its age.

via Prehistoric Human Brain Found Pickled in Bog : Discovery News.

What does the article inspire your imagination to write?

Don’t Be A Slug

Unless you can be this awesome while doing it.

I saw this picture of a sea slug posted on Facebook book by I F***ing Love Science. I never paid much attention to slugs till I moved to Seattle and found them all over the place, like the blackberry bushes that also thrive here.  Say what you want about Facebook and the crap people post sometimes, but I love the way you can also find little gems like this.


Glaucus atlanticus is rarely seen except during periods of on-shore winds which bring them (and their prey) into coastal waters. Then, they can be found in numbers floating on the surface and, sometimes, even washed up on beaches. They are holoplanktonic, spending their entire lives drifting with the foot oriented toward the surface. They float partially by means of an air bubble that they have swallowed and stored in their gastric cavity and are able to move toward prey or mates by using their cerata to make slow swimming movements.

They eat a variety of drifting prey including the siphonophore Physalia utriculus (Portuguese man-o-war) as well as the chondrophores Velella velella and Porpita pacifica (see photo). Occasionally, they will also eat each other. Like many other aeolids, they store the nematocysts from their prey in the tips of their cerata for protection against predators. Unlike in most aeolids, the sting can be felt by humans.

The dark ventral coloration (which faces the sky) may help in concealing them from birds while the light dorsal coloration (facing down) may help in concealing them from fish. However, some pelagic fish do feed on them. (Note 1) Their egg mass is a straight thread of white eggs up to 17.5 mm long that floats freely in the water (Ross and Quetin, 1990). These authors also reported that freshly collected individuals produced 4-6 egg strings per hour with 36-96 eggs per string and a total of 3300-8900 eggs per day

via Glaucus atlanticus: main page.