On Cascading Ideas

I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate the cascading fractal of of ideas that fall out of one decision or moment of improvisation and lead to a broad plain of fertile fiction-land to cultivate.

I tripped across "The Humours of Whiskey" initially as this between-songs a cappella one-verse folk tune sung by Hozier. I followed it down the rabbit hole for a good hour, ending up with the six verses as recorded in 1900. And I thought, "Hey, I've got this Irish/Scottish/Gaelic country that could use more flesh, so why not include a song about whiskey?"

So I set to adapting the lyrics (or totally not touching the lyrics in one verse, as the case may be) and choosing a few representative verses that made sense. Whiskey as a toddler? Sure. Whiskey beats magic? Any day. Whiskey as balm and motivator? Absolutely.

And then I needed a public works project for whiskey to have helped that wasn't the Thames Tunnel. The Breakwater in Fellport seemed appropriate. But what rhymes with "breakwater"? Potter? And what's potter in Latin? And now we have Maximus Figulius, AKA The Great Potter, who supervised the construction of the Breakwater. And how did Dunhill get involved? Prisoners of war put to work seems obvious. So now there's bad blood between the Ionians and Dunhill, plus some Dunhill captives became Ionian citizens after the Breakwater was built. If there's one thing about history, it get muddier the more you examine it.

In the next line of the song, there's Old Inishowen. If it was old 500 years ago, it must be a ruin by now. So let's go with a ruined castle and surrounding town in a peat bog. Since I want to find that folk song about hiding the smoke from the still so the taxman doesn't find us and include it in the world, they've probably had a peat-fired still on that site for centuries. And maybe there's a new town growing around it since taxes have eased off recently. And probably a family has been running the still for generations, so there's an NPC to create. And a battle that crushed the castle? There's a story in there, I'm sure.

Yeah. I like one song, and suddenly I've got a half-dozen new things to write about. And everything works that way if I let it. It needs some limits, or I'll be buried in ideas with no time to explore them, but I'm happy that the idea well seems awfully full at the moment.

Follow your ideas, at least for a while. They'll bring you into uncharted territory and open up some doors you didn't know were there. Keep asking questions. The answers will fuel the story you're working on, or maybe spawn your sequel.

And speaking of the inteconnection between everything... A quick status on #Lore24. I'm knee-deep in week 3 of The Rumor Mill, and I've got a total of 16 posts published over 20 days. Not daily, but I'm more than happy with that pace. Over on Mastodon, I see over 200 people using the #Lore24 tag. One of these days I'll have the time to retoot things again rather than posting and running off to do something else.

More as it hits my head.

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