A few weeks ago, I shared about my love for comics. Comic books taught me about heroes, conflict, and fighting to the end. I find inspiration between those pages and in the colorful heroes and villains. I grew up as the youngest with two older sisters. I spent much of my tweenage years on the floor of my room surrounded by piles of colorful building blocks. If there was one place that I could pour out hours of endless creativity, it was digging through my tote of Lego creating castles, fighting dragons, and discovering buried treasure.
Today, I want to share some of the inspiration for my first ever chapter story (5th grade), and talk about finding that creative outlet.
Most of my Lego creations involved large castle dioramas. I had dozens of knights guarding doorways, patrolling halls, and protecting the king. I had a few hinge pieces that I’d sneak in to create sliding walls. What’s a castle without a secret doorway or five? Over the years, I craftfully requested certain sets adding dragons, arched doorways, lion-crested shields, waterways, docks, and wizards. I created worlds and over time, a story formed.
In fifth grade, I gave story writing a try. To help with inspiration, I used my Lego to create towers, forests, a village, and the inn where my hero started his journey. A young boy named Thomas lived with his mother – the inn keeper – when their village was attacked by an ogre! He was soon joined by a minstrel, and a crazy old wizard (who is stuck in a tree when they first cross paths.) There’s a dragon, a dark evil knight, and a confrontation on a mountain top. Honestly, the writing was pretty terrible, but there are some solid chunks of story in there! There are elements from that first story that will end up in my epic fantasy – lost cities, the inn-keeper mother, and the Ogre’s castle.
I’ve recently seen a lot of authors who use images of actors and desktop-background-worthy images of beautiful scenery to stir up inspiration for their story worlds. Lego gives the opportunity to customize those characters to life!
As of this post, my kids are seven, five, and one. A few years ago I bestowed my tote full of Lego to my oldest. He and I have spent many evenings digging through wheels, ladders, castle walls, mountain chunks, and expressive yellow heads. There’s just something about Lego that when I sit down amidst those tiny pieces, that inspiration smacks me upside the head, and story flows.
In a more recent Lego adventure, I crafted a quartet of zombie hunters. It started with a “Rick Grimes”-esque Sheriff who had to have a sweet rifle. He was joined by a motorcyclist, a kid with a crossbow, and a dual-chainsaw wielding psychopath. Can you also see the Left4Dead inspiration? Who wants to read about Longmire, Akira, Russell (From Up), and Dexter surviving the zombie apocalypse?
During another Lego deep-dive, a space-pirate formed who had found a unique crystal while scrapping a derelict Alliance ship. Turns out that special crystal is also being sought out by a dark and mysterious Alliance assassin, his two robot cohorts, and an unruly band of thugs. The rest of his crew came together – the techie hacker, the feisty, beautiful, love first mate, and the honor-driven alien. He’s also likely the last of his kind (gotta get those scifi tropes in!)
As you can see, inspiration can strike at any moment. Story is everywhere if you have the eyes to see it.
Do you have a “go to” place when your inspiration is low? When was the last time you dumped out the Lego and searched for that one important piece for HOURS! Send me a pic of a Lego creation (or tag me on social media.) Let me know what you were doing the last time inspiration grabbed you and story happened. I’d love to hear from you! Drop a comment below, or find me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.