Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Harnessing Nostalgia

This is more of a personal post than anything specifically about publishing or writing, but I have been going through phases lately where I will see something from my past, usually related to media and books and toys that I had, still have, or always wanted, and will pursue these items online as a sort of obsession. I've only purchased maybe one or two of these items, such as Lego characters and old books, but the whole idea of chasing nostalgia is something that I can't get out of my head. We experience this sort of look-back often, most commonly in the form of our music. All it takes is one song to play unexpectedly on the radio and we are transported mentally back however many years to a place and time that connects with that song on an emotional level. For me, that time period is generally the '90s, and I loved every single one of them!

As I continue to run into all the many different forms of nostalgia in my daily and weekly life, I am attempting to connect these feelings of joy and respect to my latest writing work. (See? I knew I couldn't get away with writing a blog post without tying it to my latest project!)

For anyone interested, I was dared to write a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style book where the reader is the main character and they must choose their path based on different decisions they are presented with on certain pages. This sort of book is still on my shelf in my library, and I remember fondly the Goosebumps versions were so popular that one of them is cracked entirely in half and some pages had to be taped back inside! The nostalgia here is obvious - I used to love these books. Sadly, there aren't really any modern equivalents of these books that I can see. So, it makes sense that I could create my own - not using their copy-written name, but inventing my own. So, that's what I've been working on.

Essentially, I was prompted to make a story for a more adult audience and went with a story relating to zombies. I'll talk about that more as the book nears completion. What was really interesting to me was the amount of imagination that writing one of these books takes. You don't just simply sit down and start writing whatever you want. You can do that, but it will be very hard to complete! In order to write one of these books, you need to keep track of all the different story threads that the readers can go down, and you need to have a cliffhanger at the end of each page that leads into another cliffhanger. This is very demanding creatively, and my imagination has had plenty of exercise these past two weeks as I toil away on this book!

I guess what I'm getting at is this: If I hadn't been chasing my nostalgia, this book might never have started its journey into reality. If you are obsessing over something that you love, try to bring it into your work. The love that you have for the story or genre, whatever, will fuel a passion inside your own creativity and provide it with fuel to hopefully create something that someone else will love. Great art inspires new art, after all.

More on the zombie book to come!