Writing Inspiration Among Dinosaurs

Last week, I traveled down to the “City of Brotherly Love” in search of writing inspiration. My twenty-four hour stay was jam-packed with dinosaurs, a trip to prison, historic “hipsterhoods”, and reading.

I’ve previously written about my secret “superpower” where I create writing inspiration trips out of anything. This time, I put my powers into overdrive and headed to Philadelphia for a rare experience. Well, as rare as $42 and some creative use of animatronics can get…welcome to Jurassic World, The Exhibition.

The exhibit, which was based off the 2015 movie reboot (not the book), had taken residence at the Philadelphia Franklin Institute for some time. I had little knowledge of it, but as a frequent guest of museums and libraries I assumed it was a typical fossil/recreation exhibit. I was completely wrong!

After “arriving” at the park, via CGI boat, I walked up to the infamous gate. Stepping through, it became clear that this wasn’t just another fossil exhibit. I walked through the park and interacted with animatronics dinosaurs which provided an amazing interactive experience. The recreations of labs and information centers gave me that feeling like I was “in” the movie. Had Spielberg walked out from behind a door and yelled “Cut”, it would not have surprised me. It was just that good.

Somewhere between the enormous Tyrannosaur flipping over the Jeep and the “Raptor Show”, I began thinking about the novel by Crichton. This was, after all, a writing inspiration trip. In his original piece (1983), Crichton developed a story about a graduate student who recreates a dinosaur. This original concept paved the way to the 1990 book about the infamous theme park of genetically engineered dinosaurs. As I stood among the animatronics, a single question came to mind: How the hell he come up with this concept?

That’s when the lesson of this writing inspiration trip became clear.

A master of science fiction and the techno-thriller genres, it isn’t unusual to question the genius of Crichton. And, as I stood among the results of one of his concepts, I realized that one day I (may) finish my book. It seems like a far away future, but seriously, one day I could actually be a published author. Unlike Stephenie Meyer, my journey is just beginning with this first book. To be successful, there has to be a second, third and beyond. Holy shit!

Unlike Stephenie Meyer, my journey is just beginning with this first book. Click To Tweet

I’ve often wondered about what would come after this book is complete. The thoughts usually creep in between panic attacks over my current book’s character arcs and plot. But, I do manage to find the time to completely lose my shit over my uncertain future. Once this story has been resolved, What’s next? The panic subsides once I remember “the book”.

Like other writers, I possess a Moleskin overflowing with creative ideas and (not so) works-in-progress. For more than six years, I’ve religiously logged every idea (good and bad) in this tiny Italian-designed marvel. Thought I haven’t had the strength to look through the six years of scribble, its possible I have a Jurassic Park in it. If I do (big IF), ideas are only as good as the implementation, and that scares the shit out of me.

What if Crichton made the Brontosaurus the “bad” dinosaur? What if he omitted the scientists and focused on the kids? Would the story still work on the idea alone?

Standing in the Jurassic World Exhibit, I couldn’t help but wonder if the choices in my novel are the “best” ones. I have one shot at a first novel…I hope I’m not fucking it up.

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