As a child, I loved cartoons and admittedly, I still do. My favourites were the fantastic stories in which anything was possible; children could run wild and free, magic was ubiquitous, life was carefree. Anything resembling reality too strongly was completely unappealing to me. I wanted to have fun when watching, not be transported in another world that was exactly like my own. Of course I know plagiarism is strictly forbidden, and I am not talking about that, but the cartoons I preferred when I was younger definitely inspired my writing. As long as there was adventure – real adventure, not the kind of adventure that comes along with puberty – I was happy. My manuscripts are supposed to pass that same wonderful, adventurous feeling to my readers. The problem with cartoons is, though, that what works on the screen does not necessarily work in a book. Cartoons are typically strange, colourful and wild. The audience I am writing for is a little too old for picture books – and in all honesty, picture books do not enough plot for me to enjoy creating them. There has to be a way to transfer that cartoony mood into another medium, without the story getting too crazy. That is the second problem I have when using cartoons as my inspiration. What is shown on screen often is so strange that it would not work in a book. It would require too much explanation for it to work, which is not desirable at all in this age group. It has to be fun and mysterious, yet also explainable.
Another source of inspiration for me is anime. Like I said before in another blog, I am not afraid to place the words “cartoon” and “anime” in one sentence. Sure, cartoons are animated shows aimed at children, but anime consists of Japanese animated shows aimed at all age groups. While gruesome, I personally loved Elfen Lied, the Higurashi series and Death Note. These tales are definitely inappropriate for children, considering they contain many gruesome deaths, so why would I use them as inspiration? Well, it is because anything can serve as inspiration. No matter how inappropriate, I still allow myself to be inspired by the mystery, the background stories and the ambience of the fantastic. That is all that matters when it comes to inspiration. As long as it triggers the brain’s gears, it can and should be used.