Tagged with "inspiration"
Box of Inspirations
Category: Writing
Tags: inspiration artefacts writing memoir aids

Box of inspirations

 

 

I’m in the process of decluttering. Sorting out a lifetime’s accumulated junk. Wondering why on earth I have held on to so much stuff for so long.

 

But it’s not hard to hang on to the implements with which you’ve written so many words through your life: notes, letters (many many letters), cheques, contracts, shopping lists, thoughts, story ideas - the stories themselves, poems, and reminders. 

 

Rifling through my box of pencils I can remember where I was and what was going on in my life just by holding each one.

 

Do you remember when I used my big bulging button tin as my inspiration for my 2014 nano novel? It wasn’t a personal memoir, but I used it to help my protagonist (with dementia) remember poignant moments in her life. 

 

 

And so it is with these pens and pencils. In just the first handful I see the gold Sheaffer fountain pen I had for signing contracts when I was an IT consultant.  There’s the ICL training pencil from fabulous programming courses at ICL Beaumont near Windsor many years ago (oh those wonderful work colleagues.) And a multitude from hotels across the globe (oh those trips.) So many memories are all buried here in this clutch of pens and pencils.

 

 

Then there is this - the pencil from the Public Record Office in Kew where, in the early 1990s, I researched my mysterious father. This was before access to wartime records via the internet. This was when you had an appointment at the Public Record Office in Kew, were given a pencil (and only a pencil) with which to make notes. When requests were sent to the archives. When you waited for old yellowing original hand written files to be ‘brought up’. This was when I found what happened to my father, Pilot Officer  FJ Roberts RCAF DFM (the medal of courage), when he and fellow crew members were shot down in their Lancaster JB400 (L for La Loupe) of RAF 103 Squadron. It was the 5th Berlin Raid. I was five days old. And he was just 22. 

 

 

And this is why I took up writing again.

 

 

 

Do you have an old pencil box filled with memories?  With inspirations??

 

It's All in the Name
Category: Writing
Tags: writers abroad creative writing settting place names inspiration

 

As some of you may know I’m travelling around the coast of Ireland, North and South, on a trip down memory lane with my husband, Simon who grew up near Belfast.

As we’ve been negotiating the beautiful – no, stunning – landscapes I’ve been struck by some of the wonderful place names they have here. In Southern Ireland, the place name signs are written in Gaelic as well as English, which is even more enchanting. A name gives a sense of what we might expect… or not. For writers, these names can be an important part of the whole story, as places and settings, can be as powerful as characters with their own personality, challenges and romantic notions.

Favourite Famous Fictional Place Names

  • Hogsmeade – features in the Harry Potter tales and is the home to Hogwarts, the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
  • Castle Rock – appears in many Stephen King stories, a typical town with dark secrets
  • Middlemarch –  the 19th Century fictional town created by George Eliot and features as the title of her novel.
  • Bedrock – a prehistoric city and home to The Flintstones
  • Ambridge –  the fictional village which serves as the centre for the long running series ‘The Archers’ on Radio 4
  • Atlantis – a legendary lost continent supposedly sunk in the Atlantic Ocean

Need help with defining some new settings for your story? Here are some Place Name Generators which may do the trick. (Warning! Many of these will generate all kinds of stuff and you could find yourself still playing around hours later…)

Fantasy Name Generators

Springhole

Name generator

Writing Exercises Name Generator (will even provide descriptions!)

Pseudo Elizabethan Place Name Generator

Or just take a map for some inspiration. Here are some that I’ve come across on our trip thus far (all Southern as we don’t cross the border for another week…

  • Mohill – the Gaelic is Maothail
  • Knockawaddra  - there are a lot of places beginning with Knock, some could be funny, others a little bit more surreal
  • Bunacurry – the Gaelic is Bun an Churraigh, and it used to have a monastery.
  • Inishbofin- a very small island off the coast of County Galway
  • Achill Sound – the Gaelic being Gob an Choire

I’m sure to those familiar with Ireland these names will not be new, but for me having never visited the country (or should I say countries?), or spoken Gaelic before, it will be somewhere I will return for inspiration.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your setting names? Are they based on real places, fictional ones or a mixture of the two?

Source of Inspiration
Category: Writing
Tags: writing inspiration travel

Source of Inspiration

Travelling is my thing. You could almost call it an addiction. I started at 20 years old when I emigrated to Australia, but I didn’t stop there and have been travelling ever since, whenever I can. It’s hard to say which is more important to me or makes me happier – travelling or writing. Basically, I can’t do one without the other. So it’s hardly surprising my first published work was non-fiction in the form of travel features for magazines.

It wasn’t until I was a member of Writers Abroad and became more confident (and successful from time to time) that I realised I could use the same material, gathered in my travels, for fiction. And I also found this much more fun. And more fulfilling. Apart from what I write from our members’ Monday Muse prompts which often come totally out of the blue, just about everything I write includes a setting taken from my travels.

A couple of months back I went on a camping trip around Namibia, travelling with like-minded (mostly!) folk in a small group. Sharing my life, from sun-up to sun-down with ten other people I’d never met before was quite an experience and in this situation I got to know them quite well. It would probably surprise them – if not you, as writers – that several of them, especially the stronger characters in the group, will turn up in one form or other in my fiction. Some already have. Along with certain situations experienced there. At times there were scenes that reminded me of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. If not as dramatic, a peppering of poetic licence could make them so.

It’s rare for me to base characters on my friends or to use a setting from just outside my back-door. For me, both these are too familiar and don’t inspire me, although I admit it occasionally happens. Rather, it’s extraordinary places and novel circumstances that stimulate my imagination.

I know that many writers write very successfully about ordinary people in ordinary places, who perhaps do extraordinary things, and possibly more people can relate to this, which might bring them more success. It would interesting to know where your inspiration comes from. From real life? Home? Or away? Or purely from the depths of your imagination?

 

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