The cogs of inspiration

Halloween is one of my favorite times of years. After all, a significant part of my writing process involves building things, so October turns into a sort of two-for-one deal.

The only problem is that October is also usually my busiest times of years. This October, I toured schools for a literacy organization, did an outreach program at school, spoke at the Vancouver Writers’ Fest, and then went to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference to meet with some agents and editors—all in the two weeks leading up to Halloween. Which is all to say that I crammed my costume and model building into an intensive three-day period leading up to Halloween.

We had bought my wife a very cool steampunk costume earlier this year, so I decided I would match her outfit by going as a steampunk pirate. This involved buying some clothes (I went to a very cool store in Vancouver called Venus and Mars) and then building and modifying a few items, such as an eye patch, hat, belt, and key.

Here’s the eyepatch:

steampunkeyepatch

And the details I added to my belt:

steampunkbelt

The hat was very tricky, mostly because it involved sewing (which is NOT my strength).

steampunkpiratehat

steampunkpiratehatdetail

The piece de resistance, however, was the pirate key. This actually turned out to be the biggest part of the project. It began with a bunch of parts:

key_01

And then playing puzzle-maker as I experimented with how I wanted to fit them together:

key_02

At last, I ended up with this:

key_03

The neatest part about building the key is that it inspired me to go back and rewrite a scene in one of the projects I’m currently working on—which is why I love building things. It’s a way to use a different part of my brain, a way to generate ideas for my stories. This key isn’t exactly like the one that I ended up describing in my book, but it’s close. (I have a feeling, I’ll be building another key in the near future . . .)

Oh, and here’s the photos of Marcie and I in our final steampunk costumes.

steampunklee steampunkmarcie

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