Boredom Breeds Fodder for Fiction

by Bill Walker

Writers nearly always find inspiration when and where they least expect it.  Whether it springs from a story on the news, an overheard conversation, or a daydream, inspiration can and will strike like the proverbial bolt from the blue.  That said, I often find inspiration will spring from somewhere inside of me, from things I’ve seen and stored away.

For instance, the first novel I ever wrote, “Camp Stalag,” was borne out of the boredom suffered during consecutive two summers spent at a sleep-away camp in New Hampshire, when I was a young boy.  There were many days, where the usual structured camp activities lost their appeal and we lay about wondering what to do.  Well, we were all fans of “Hogan’s Heroes” at the time, and thought it would be a gas to dig a tunnel between our cabin and our nearest neighbor.  We actually got quite far along before the counselors discovered what we were doing and called a halt to it.  But the seed was planted.  Later, when I was older and starting to think seriously about pursuing a career as a novelist, I thought back on those lazy summer days and wondered: “What if you had a summer camp for adults, and what if that camp were an exact replica of a World War II German POW camp?  And what if once the ‘prisoners’ were there the ‘Germans’ decided to play the game for real?”  The rest, as they say, is history.

For my first published novel, “Titanic 2012,” it was a desire to extend the feelings James Cameron’s movie instilled in me.  I was fascinated by that movie and the real history of the sinking.  And there was a lot of talk at the time, from various people, about rebuilding the ship.  I said, “What if someone DID rebuild the ship, what if a descendant of the Astor family spent his millions doing just that?”

For my latest novel, “A Note from an Old Acquaintance,” it was a desire to recapture a part of my youth.  I spent over 15 years in Boston, which encompassed my college years and thereafter.  It was a wonderful and exciting time–it’s where I met my wife, Debbie.  In many ways, the story is as much a love story about Boston, as it is one involving the characters Brian and Joanna.  To me, that city represents a second hometown for me and I wanted to tell a story, a love story, that would embrace that feeling and extend it to the human characters.  I like to think I succeeded on that note.

In any event, if you’re an aspiring writer, try looking inside yourself for the seeds of inspiration.  What is it that moves you?  Writing a novel is a process that involves all the senses and one which requires total commitment.  For me, writing brings a joy beyond words.  I hope it’s the same for you.


About Bill Walker

Bill Walker is a graphic designer specializing in book and dust jacket design, and has worked on projects by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. Between his design work and his writing, he spends his spare time reading voraciously and playing very loud guitar, much to the chagrin of his lovely wife and two sons. Bill makes his home in Los Angeles and can be reached through his web site:

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2 Responses to Boredom Breeds Fodder for Fiction

  1. Kim Smith says:

    Great post! And so true!

  2. Bill Walker says:

    Thanks for hosting me, Lisa. It’s very much appreciated. And I hope you do well with your own book. It sounds very intriguing.

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