Being a writer, and having finished my 24th short story a little more than a month ago, I am once again on the prowl for material that I consider acceptable. I never really know how I am going to start a story or what it's going to be about.I just get a glimpse of something that inspires me and then the story literally takes on a life of it's own. I guess you could say it's similar to possession.
I'm doing my usual research into intensely violent history, watching as many slasher films as humanly possible, listening to as many dark-yet-melodic metal bands as time will allow, even reading the obituaries (one of my favorite pastimes, by the way).
I'll also read a lot of books about sorcery and magic rituals. The pomp and pageantry alone capture my imagination, no matter what they are used for. I can't seem to find out enough about them. From the rites used in ceremonies from the middle ages, to the ones used in Voodoo.
I like to make sure that I write material that no one has ever heard of before, or tried. And in order to do just that, I feel like I have to strain myself to the point where I can feel it literally in my soul for me to get the exact amount of inspiration that I need. I guess it's worth it when I create a fantastic story, but I'm never quite the same afterward.