Military Science Fantasy. That’s what I am currently writing. Again. Some of you may recall that many moons ago I had decided to write a book about orcs in a Science Fantasy setting. One friend mentioned calling it the “Orcspendibles,” basically being a mashup of the Expendables with orcs. I loved the idea, and have jotted notes, made false starts, and even started an RPG project related to it.
Well, I think I may have made some REAL progress now. A couple of weeks ago I laid out the entire plot for the (first) book in bullet points, with each sentence describing a chapter. I ended up with 15 chapters. I later added a few more to flesh out the plot with some subplot points. And today I’m starting to expand those one-sentence descriptions into 1-2 paragraphs each.
One of the things that I was stumbling with was where I was drawing my inspiration. I know most writers will say “Find your own voice; do your own thing; etc.” And while I totally get that, I find a lot of my own writing begins with what is inspiring the story in general. When I write Sword & Sorcery, it usually starts with some Conan elements. Fantasy often draws from D&D and the related novels I have read. Planetary Romance usually draws from Burroughs. So, where were my Orcspendibles going to draw from?
Initially, I was digging into military sci-fi and stuff like that. But that wasn’t really doing it for me. Then it hit me, I needed to attack it from a different angle. Instead of focusing on the Sci-Fi elements, I looked to the Military part. And that came to me in the form of all of those Mack Bolan novels I’ve read, as well as other modern military action novels. I’m also looking at movies of the same bent, with the obvious choice being the Expendables films, and even a few plot points borrowed from The Wild Geese.
It seems, in hindsight, like a “duh” moment, especially considering the whole things started with the Expendables with orcs. But I just needed to cycle through the other elements until I came full-circle back to where the idea was born.
I think as a writer, I do that a lot. But, in the end, while some elements may seem familiar, I’m hoping to put a new spin on it all and make something unique. Because, really, isn’t that what writing fiction is all about these days anyways?