Created By: Dawnwing on November 7, 2012 Last Edited By: WarriorSparrow on December 11, 2012
Troped

Inspiration For the Work

How the creator came up with it.

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This will be a Trivia page. Needs a Better Description.


Occasionally, a creator will share a story on how they came up with the idea for their work. Perhaps they attribute it to a specific event; perhaps they focused on one idea and built the story from there. Either way, it's often interesting to learn about.

This is a supertrope: if it was Based on a Dream, it belongs on the appropriate page, and if the plot was inspired by a real-life technical difficulty, it belongs on Serendipity Writes the Plot. If it's based on a real-life news story, it's Ripped from the Headlines. If someone came up with the idea based on something already popular, it's Follow the Leader (however, if they came up with the idea on their own and merely had the popular work influence aspects of it, it belongs here).

Examples

Comic Books
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was made after Eastman and Laird stayed up late drinking and drawing cartoons. One of them drew a picture of a turtle on two feet with nunchaku strapped to his arms, and they decided to develop the idea further.

Films - Animated

Films - Live Action
  • Little Miss Sunshine was apparently inspired by a speech Arnold Schwarzenegger made as governor of California, in which he talked about failure. The scriptwriters of the movie strongly disagreed with his ideas.

Literature
  • Scott Westerfeld came up with the idea for the Uglies series after a coworker moved to Los Angeles. The coworker sent an email discussing his trip to the dentist and how everyone in LA seems to have blindingly white teeth. Westerfeld began to wonder about a culture where modifications to beauty like that were the norm and those who didn't do it stood out.
  • The Warrior Cats series began when HarperCollins told Vicky Holmes to create a story about cats. She wasn't thrilled because she doesn't like cats all that much, but she decided to add things that interested her, such as lots of action.
  • The Nightshade Trilogy started with the invention of the main character, Calla. The author, Andrea Cremer, wondered what an Action Girl who could turn into a wolf would be afraid of, and built the rest of the story based on that.
  • Kenneth Oppel has a friend very obsessed with bats, and whose enthusiasm began to rub off. Oppel saw potential for a unique story, especially since bats have never been written about, and started writing the Silverwing trilogy.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island began as a watercolor painting done in front of his nephews, who were enthralled and delighted by the appearance of exotic locales with absurdly poetic names.
  • Alice in Wonderland began as an improvised story Lewis Carroll told to the Liddell Sisters. Likewise, The Wind in the Willows and The Hobbit were also originally conceived as stories that Grahame and J. R. R. Tolkien told children they knew.
  • Suzanne Collins was watching TV one night, flipping through the channels. On one channel there was coverage of war; on another, there was a reality show involving young people. These blurred together and she began to get the idea for The Hunger Games.
  • Orson Scott Card got the idea for Ender's Game as a kid, when he tried to theorize what the military of the future would use to train soldiers in space, thus imagining the Battle Room.
  • Jim Butcher's told the story many times of how his Codex Alera came from a bet made in an online discussion board. There was a debate about which was more important, a good setting or a good plot. He bet that he could take even the worst idea for a setting and turn it into a good story, and invited his opponent to suggest one. He got back two: the Lost Roman Legion and Pokemon. After looking into the background of both, Butcher started writing, but was unable to post the resulting story to win the bet because he thought it was good enough to publish (and get paid for). It grew into a six book series, by which point he'd completely forgotten where the bet was made and with whom.
  • Stephen King was said to have gotten the inspiration for Pet Sematary from his own daughter burying her cat in a pet cemetery and his own son nearly getting killed by running into a busy road. It's also been said that he may have been inspired by the 1902 short story by W.W. Jacobs "the Monkey's Paw".

Newspaper Comics
  • Calvin and Hobbes came from a rejected strip from Bill Watterson, whose cast included a younger brother with a stuffed tiger. He was told these two were the strip's strongest characters and to develop them. Watterson thus cut the rest of the cast and reworked the strip to star those two.
    • Spaceman Spiff, Calvin's space man fantasy, came from an earlier comic idea by Watterson, where Spiff was an obnoxious space adventurer who traveled around space with his dumb assistant Fargle in a dirigible. That concept traced itself to an earlier two page comic he wrote while bored in college German class.

Video Games
  • The Pokémon series is said to be inspired by Satoshi Tajiri's childhood hobby, bug collecting.

Web Original
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Tim Siddell was drawing pictures one day, and he decided to draw one using the unused colors from a recently-purchased pack of markers. The colors were pink, drab green, and tan, so Tom drew a pink-haired girl in a school uniform. She ended up with a bored expression on her face that intrigued Tom, so he started imagining what she must be like and what sort of school she must attend. He decided he could make a webcomic about this, and Gunnerkrigg Court was the result.
Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • November 7, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island began as a watercolor painting done in front of his nephews, who were enthralled and delighted by the appearance of exotic locales with absurdly poetic names.
  • November 8, 2012
    Duncan
    Alice In Wonderland began as an improvised story Lewis Carroll told to the Liddell Sisters.
  • November 8, 2012
    MorganWick
    This is about as close to People Sit On Chairs as a trivia page can be.
  • November 8, 2012
    Dawnwing
    ^ Not really any different from stuff like What Could Have Been. In fact, turns out that Based On A Dream is a trope in and of itself, didn't see that one initially. But why not have this page? Not every work's origin story has been told (which is why I need a better description, heh), but if there is an event/etc that inspired it, they're often pretty interesting. In fact, that's a question that authors get asked the most - "how did you come up with the idea?". Some of them are more well known, like the Twilight and Pokemon ones I think, but some of them are more rare and I think it would be a good addition to the Trivia page, equal to the other tropes you see there.
  • November 8, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • Orson Scott Card got the idea for Enders Game as a kid, when he tried to theorize what the military of the future would use to train soldiers in space, thus imagining the Battle Room.
  • November 9, 2012
    acrobox
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was made after Eastman and Laird stayed up late drinking and drawing cartoons. One of them drew a picture of a turtle on two feet with nunchaku strapped to his arms, and they decided to develop the idea further
  • November 9, 2012
    MetaFour
    You can probably find some good examples in Serendipity Writes The Plot.
  • November 10, 2012
    Dawnwing
    I've decided to name this as a supertrope to Based On A Dream and Serendipity Writes The Plot, and possibly others if people find anything related. Those other pages are unique enough that they should keep their examples there - and no need for duplicates by posting them here too - but if there's any that don't quite fit on any of those pages, they'll go here.

    Updated to here and updated the description a little - how does it sound?
  • November 10, 2012
    DracMonster
    Inspiration For The Work might be a clearer title.
  • November 10, 2012
    blueflame724
    I know there's the Terminator, which came from a nightmare James Cameron had. How did JK Rowling come up with Harry Potter though? That should be a fairly notable example.
  • November 10, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    This is Trivia, not a Trope. Which is cool and all, but it needs to be on the Trivia list and examples should go on the Trivia tab.
  • November 10, 2012
    StarSword
    ^He did say it was Trivia in the description...
  • November 11, 2012
    Dawnwing
    @DracMonster: Thanks! That's the sort of name I was looking for, I just didn't find the right wording. xD

    @blueflame724: The Terminator example is on the Based On A Dream page. For Harry Potter, I know she started writing it on a delayed train and then wrote it on notepads in a cafe (even though at least one version of the books claim she wrote it on napkins, haha), but I can't recall if she ever said where she got the idea to begin with.

    @shimaspawn: Yes, I did say that it was Trivia and I do intend to set it as a trivia page when it gets launched.
  • November 11, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    ^ The description says "This will be a Trivia trope." (my emphasis)

    That is an oxymoron. There is no such thing. This distinction is important. You mean it will be a Trivia article.
  • November 12, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    This is a really cool and interesting idea! Little Miss Sunshine was apparently inspired by a speech Arnold Schwarzenegger made as governor of California, in which he talked about failure. The scriptwriters of the movie strongly disagreed with his ideas. I learned that from the Little Miss Sunshine page on this wiki!

    In addition to Alice, The Wind In The Willows and The Hobbit were also originally conceived as stories that Grahame and Tolkein told children they knew. Do we have a specific trope for works that start out as stories told to children, or does that come under the Literature section of So My Kids Can Watch?
  • November 12, 2012
    MetaFour
    • Gunnerkrigg Court: Tim Siddell was drawing pictures one day, and he decided to draw one using the unused colors from a recently-purchased pack of markers. The colors were pink, drab green, and tan, so Tom drew a pink-haired girl in a school uniform. She ended up with a bored expression on her face that intrigued Tom, so he started imagining what she must be like and what sort of school she must attend. He decided he could make a webcomic about this, and Gunnerkrigg Court was the result.
  • November 13, 2012
    Dawnwing
    ^^^ Well, I think my intent came across, even if I didn't word it correctly, but anwyay I've fixed that now.

    ^^ Thanks! As far as the works-that-start-as-children's-stories, I think they do belong here. So My Kids Can Watch is really about someone who already does things that aren't for children, and then decide to change and do a more family-friendly one. This is more someone was just having fun telling a story to a kid and then thought "hey, that'd make a good book". I actually think we could move all the examples under "Literature" from that page to here.
  • November 18, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Sounds like most examples could fit under both tropes, depending on the author. Like the example of TS Eliot writing the Practical Cats book because the rest of his work is so dense and deals with dark themes like war, murder and cannibalism. Then again, it's can be listed here that he got the idea from his own cats.
  • November 18, 2012
    CritterKeeper
    I think this is a valid super-category to the Based On A Dream and Serendipity Writes The Plot, and possibly others. I *love* hearing where a story came from, and often click on the Trivia tab looking for this sort of fun example.

    Literature:
    • Jim Butcher's told the story many times of how his Codex Alera came from a bet made in an online discussion board. There was a debate about which was more important, a good setting or a good plot. He bet that he could take even the worst idea for a setting and turn it into a good story, and invited his opponent to suggest one. He got back two: the Lost Roman Legion and Pokemon. After looking into the background of both, Butcher started writing, but was unable to post the resulting story to win the bet because he thought it was good enough to publish (and get paid for). It grew into a six book series, by which point he'd completely forgotten where the bet was made and with whom.
  • November 24, 2012
    Dawnwing
    Hats or suggestions on what to improve, anyone?
  • November 25, 2012
    WaxingName
    A hat for you.
  • November 25, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Newspaper Comics
    • Calvin And Hobbes came from a rejected strip from Bill Watterson, whose cast included a younger brother with a stuffed tiger. He was told these two were the strip's strongest characters and to develop them. Watterson thus cut the rest of the cast and reworked the strip to star those two.
      • Spaceman Spiff, Calvin's space man fantasy, came from an earlier comic idea by Watterson, where Spiff was an obnoxious space adventurer who traveled around space with his dumb assistant Fargle in a dirigible. That concept traced itself to an earlier two page comic he wrote while bored in college German class.
  • November 26, 2012
    WaxingName
    One question, how is this related to when a work is inspired by another work?
  • November 26, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    In some cases of Follow The Leader various writers/directors/whatever came up with their ideas independently but publishers and distributors pick them up because of the success of a predecessor. For example, The Vampire Diaries existed before Twilight but was adapted for television because of the huge success of the latter.
  • December 8, 2012
    Dawnwing
    I think in that case, things like The Vampire Diaries would go on this page, since they came up with the idea on their own, while things like the Kung Fu Panda example here would go on Follow the Leader. When I launch this I will move it from here to that page.
  • December 8, 2012
    MaxWest
    Stephen King was said to have gotten the inspiration for Pet Sematary from his own daughter burying her cat in a pet cemetery and his own son nearly getting killed by running into a busy road. It's also been said that he may have been inspired by the 1902 short story by W.W. Jacobs "the Monkey's Paw".
  • December 8, 2012
    AnEditor
    It seems like a super-catergory to Ripped From The Headlines as well.
  • December 11, 2012
    Dawnwing
    Updated. I'll launch this and make the appropriate edits to the other pages, (i.e. So My Kids Can Watch) as I mentioned above, once my finals are over next week.
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