Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Sunday, March 13, 2011
  Sometin' out of nuttin'
Mario here:

Where do you get your ideas? It's a question commonly put to what our society calls the creative types: artists, writers, and musicians. I'm always stumped by the desire to give an answer that's snarky or dumb. Where don't I get my ideas?

I think that question comes from people who are intimidated by the blank page or canvas. Everyone taps into their creative side. Lawyers always look for the legal angle. Civil bureaucrats for ways to screw us with taxes. For them, no blank canvas stares back as there is already a network of requirements and processes, and it's easy to quantify what works and what doesn't.

The difference for the creative types is that we are expected to come up with something both original and catchy. We're expected to tread over boundaries and act as if we make something from nothing.



For most of my writer and artist friends, the issue is not a dearth of ideas but a lack of time to work them all out. That damn Muse is such a task master. Always a bitch!

When God give you a talent, he also hands you a whip. Truman Capote




It's not that I consider myself especially talented, but I do work hard. As a writer and student of the crazy, stupid, and obscene, I turn to true crime stories for inspiration. Certainly I can come up with plenty of my own tales, however, life always trumps art. The news gives me details and motives that flesh out a good story. A sadistic serial killer who gets trapped by the police when he feels he's not getting due credit for his gruesome deeds. A mild-mannered geek murders his wife because she gets on his case for doing cocaine, which he consumes to cope with her growing weight. An astronaut dons a diaper and treks nonstop from Texas to Florida to confront her sexual rival. How can you make this up?

Other times, I overhear a morsel of gossip, and my mind races to complete the story.


As for my art, I'm a representational artist, meaning I paint a person, it looks like a certain person, I paint a landscape, it looks like a landscape. But as in writing, it's all about interpretation. What are the details I focus on? What is my style? How do other artists combine subjects to produce something that is both representational and expressive as does Rene Farkass. How do I stretch my abilities without compromising my style or copying? How do I keep from going stale?




I can understand the frustration of musicians. They write a hit song and are told, make another one, only different and better. It's not easy tapping into the universe and understanding what the Muse is trying to tell us. What works for you?

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Comments:
Ideas are never the problem but I have to always give myself permission to express my ideas with brutal honesty. That's the tough bit, I think, and one of the bridges between talent and skill.
 
Hi, Mario,
Love the Truman Capote quote. So true! I should be applying that whip instead of lingering here, but your blog is always so interesting. TTFN - Janet
 
Becky: So true. Brutal honesty is hard to make readable.

Janet: Thanks for the strokes...and not from a whip!
 
All my writer friends they never have trouble coming up with ideas. That intimidates the hell out of me. Seems I'm always demanding my mind to deliver a better idea to me. You creative types make me feel so dumb!
 
Shannon: Dumb? In our circles, you're the brainiac! (and adult supervision)
 
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