The Fermi Paradox Series has definitely grown legs and expanded well beyond what I originally planned. What was originally one book is now a series of three with the potential for more (yes, I am already thinking about a book 4, but want to focus on my fantasy series after book 3). I have written previously about motivation and discipline, but now I wish to discuss inspiration, as it is key in any creative venture. To do this, I will use The Fermi Paradox Series as a focus point, which will allow me to provide details specifically about the series as well as my 3 tips on using inspiration.
Right before I began writing The Fermi Paradox, I was reading Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, an absolute classic sci-fi story. I was gripped by the amazing way Asimov weave his story over the generations, taking an interesting view on time and how humanity moves through it into the future. It also made me realise how bad we are as a race at considering the macro level of our future. Although a race that relies on communities for survival, the way in which we think is very individualistic and short-term or reactive in nature. As individuals, we will think about our own future, normally out a number of years. We may also think on this timescale about our immediate community or family, but thinking about humanity as a whole rarely manifests and those who do are exceptions to the rule. It was these thoughts, born out by reading a science fiction story, that inspired me to write a story about the future of humanity. I set out to create an engaging story that would, hopefully, help people think deeper about the course our race is on and the dangers of blundering into events without any sort of forward thinking.
So, that's it right? One bout of inspiration and off we go?
Asimov inspire me with a theme. I knew what the underlying point I wanted to get across was, but this alone would hardly prove an engaging story. This meant, I needed more inspiration.
The decision to use the discovery of extraterrestrial life as the catalyst for my story, to talk about my theme, definitely had inspiration, but of a less specific nature. For as long as I remember, I have always loved both sci-fi and fantasy stories. I have read extensively, watched countless TV shows and movies, and played more video games than I would care to count. It was from this general history and love of the genre that I was inspired to use a sci-fi setting, and in particularly the Fermi Paradox. Inspiration does not need to come from a single source. It is often general in nature and can be hard to define the exact originating point. My main point here is that you don't need clearly defined inspiration. Accept that sometimes it is general in nature, and as long as you can clearly articulate what you want to achieve, then where the inspiration came from should not trouble you.
But that's not where the inspiration ends in The Fermi Paradox.
That's right, there's more.
If the story ended with the discovery of extraterrestrials, it would be a very bland plot. This is where the Alien Resistance Militia enters. But this is a conversation about inspiration, right? So, where did this inspiration come from? At a casual glance, you could say the inspiration came from almost any sci-fi story in existence (which it did in a general sense), noting the proclivity of rebellions and resistances in literature, movies, and games. In this way, this part of the story was inspired in a general sense, just like the discovery of extraterrestrial life, but it needed more depth to make it meaningful. Enter Professor Stephen Hawking. Although I am not a scientist, I have read Hawking's A Brief History of Time and always had a large respect for someone dedicated to progressing the human race's knowledge of the physical world. As I was planning the story, searching for this depth, I remember an interview with Hawking in which he predicted that meeting extraterrestrials would not end well for humanity. Cue inspiration for the resistance. The resistance, therefore, was inspired both in a general sense, as well as in a very specific sense, blending the two points I have spoken about already.
By now, you should have a greater sense of the inspiration for The Fermi Paradox as well as my broad thoughts about the sources of inspiration. Based on the title of this blog, you may be confused and wondering while I haven't titled it "Inspiration for The Fermi Paradox".
Because, the final part of this blog, I wanted to speak about my inspiration for writing itself.
I have mentioned previously, in my blog "how writing has changed my life", that I started writing after going home for my grandmother's funeral. This was a catalyst that started my writing journey. But it is not what inspired me to truly chase my dreams, to finish my books and accept the publishing and bestseller dream that had long been fermenting in me from a childhood filled with fantasy and sci-fi stories. That inspiration came from my wife. She was the first person I told that I was writing a book when we started dating seriously, and the first person to ever read my work. At this point, I only had about a quarter of my first fantasy book completed, but I still gave it to her to read. Those who know my wife, know she is not a huge reader like myself, but I watched as she became entranced in the book and devoured it. This led to constant requests for the rest of the book. This is where my inspiration and confidence in my writing came from. And no, it wasn't her constant requests that inspire me, it was the fact that someone who was not a reader became so invested in my writing and story.
Nine years later now, with my second book soon to be published, and my inspiration to write has not diminished. My goals have changed, my skills have developed, and my passion for the craft has only grown, but the inspiration remains the same.