It’s funny how ideas can come to you. I was watching The Men Who Brought The Dawn, a documentary about the men who flew the mission to drop the A-bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and it just seemed to pop like a firecracker in my head. Either way you feel about that act, it was one of the most pivotal points in world history, especially for the U.S. and Japan. For seventy odd years we have been the only power to use a nuclear weapon in war, and for that same amount of time Japan has been recovering from the most devastating attack ever launched against a nation.
I was watching it getting ready to go to the grocery store and in just seeing the first five minutes and then getting to think about that on the ten minute drive to Wal-Mart, I had a new element for my story. Well, my story’s world anyway.
That’s how I come up with a lot of my ideas. I try to fill my head with facts, knowledge, things that interest me, my interpretations of those thing, and then wait for something to act as a catalyst to make it all work. It’s kind of like a crock pot.
I know that sounds a bit silly, but it’s true. In this case, I know quite a bit about Japan. It’s an amazing country with an amazing people. They have a fascinating history and have fallen and risen up from the ashes multiple times to be a world power. To give you an idea, Japan is roughly the size of California. By WWII they had one of the meanest, as in most capable and willing to actually do something with that, militaries in the world. We took them island by island and each time it was a prolonged, bloody battle. There has never and may never again be a military like that of Japan’s.
To give you an idea how tough they were, we had to nuke them twice.
Since that time they rose into a world power for a second time. Where first they were a military power, the second time they were an economic one.
This doesn’t even include a fascinating history and a society and tradition that has spread like wildfire in popular culture. The samurai and the ninja are two of the most iconic images to come out of Asia, and they’re one of those things that no matter how much is exaggerated about them, you can always find something in truth that is even cooler than the Hollywood bullshit.
All these ideas ping ponged around in my head until I had a clear image of what I wanted for my world. I was remembering things about their mythology, their history, and their culture that I hadn’t thought of in years until I had a new idea, a new character, and I think a whole story (if not, at least part of a story).
And that’s the great thing about the world we live in. I tend to be pretty pessemistic about…well, everything, but overall we live in an amazing world. There is a lot to draw from. It’s just about exposing yourself to it.