Literary Musings asked...
Where do you get your ideas?
For an author, the world is one big opportunity for a multitude of ideas that could be used in a novel. More often than not, I brainstorm ideas as to what I want to write or have my characters say or do. Other times, an idea will simply present itself when I’m out and about doing everyday things. I’ll provide two recent examples. This summer my family visited several museums. From the information I read at the National Cryptologic Museum, I had an idea about a supporting character from Of Beasts and Bonds, who will be the heroine in a book from a new series. Now, mind you, I still have one more book to write to complete the Death and Destiny trilogy. And the first book I’m planning for my next series won’t be with this particular character. None of that matters, however, because a good idea presented itself, and I was happy with the random thought. When it’s all said and done, I may not use the idea in the novel, but such random thoughts help with the ultimate framing and details of the plot and characters. Even a discarded idea is of value to an author and the overall story she wishes to tell.
The second idea came when I was at the National Museum of African Art-Smithsonian Institute. What was so cool about the visit was that they have an exhibit on water in African art. The exhibit is about, not only the necessity of water for all living creatures, but the role of water in cultural myths, metaphors, and rituals. Well, water and fire are two important symbols in the trilogy, for the elemental earth witches and the African goddesses. More, Mami Wata, a water goddess known in certain parts of Africa and the African diaspora, as well as the villain in Of Beasts and Bonds, was represented in two statues.
Of course I had to take a picture of the images. As you can see from the pictures, several of Mami Wata’s attributes are present, mainly snakes. For those who read Of Beasts and Bonds, it will be quite clear how much the water goddess loves her snakes.
Realm of the Gods
“Oh, but they are most delicious, sister.” Mami Wata stroked the warm tropic scales of her Titanoboa, its tan-and-gray head between her large breasts, the remainder of the snake’s twenty-foot body coiled about her naked form. The snake’s head rose, nuzzled her neck, and then burrowed its face in the sea of her crinkled black hair. “Particularly the were-cat. I think I will enjoy devouring him most of all. What do you think, sister?”
Mami Wata lowered the polished metal disc she held in her hand, an ancient looking glass crafted of gold, pearls, diamonds, and water goddess magic. Through her scrying glass, she observed all—the mortal battlefield of play upon which her well-laid plans would unfold.
Layer by layer by beastly layer.
She turned to her sister. On the other side of the room, a structure designed by Ra and placed in the center of the realm, Oya reclined on a Mngwa print bench. Plush and elegant, Oya all but sank into the luxurious piece of furniture, purple silk draped over her nude form, and emerald eyes staring up at Mami Wata with arrogant, willful familiarity.
Mami Wata smiled. “I will feast on that kitty of yours, sister.”
As Mami Wata had done to her Titanoboa, Oya laid a hand upon the Mngwa print bench and stroked. “I think not. He will be the one to feast upon your pets.”
Mami Wata’s warm smile never wavered, although freezing ocean water ran through her veins, cooling her temper and slowing her immortal pulse.
“He should not even exist.”
“Yet he does, and he is mine.”
“No, sister, what you should have said is that he is mine. For the next few weeks, I own him. And your pathetic fire witch.”
Mami Wata peered into the scrying glass. The fire witch no longer cried, nor were the mortals huddled together outside. They had retreated to their bedroom. From a chaise lounge in the corner of the darkened room, the little witch, legs pulled to chest and arms around knees, watched the were-cat through the glass balcony doors. Though, in human form, he prowled the wrought-iron enclosure, back straight, chin held high, but eyes a savage gold. The first fissure in his chainmail of self-control.
“They are stronger than you think.”
“You speak with such confidence, sister. But that will soon change, for I intend to break the were-cat.”
A hand blown glass statue of a Mngwa appeared in Mami Wata’s hand. She let it slip onto the stone floor, shattering upon impact. “Break him.” A second figurine materialized in her hand, made of stone resin. That too tumbled out of her hand and onto the floor, cracking into a dozen pieces. “Break him.” She opened her left hand, in the center slept a newborn Mngwa. She tossed the cub into the air.
Her Titanoboa opened its mouth and caught the cub, devouring it in one smooth gulp.
Mami Wata grinned at Oya. “Break him.”