A straight forward enough question right? Where does the inspiration for your characters come from? I think it would be easy enough to say that everyone we meet has the potential to become ‘inspirational’ but not everyone is. People come in and out of our lives,some for a season, some for a reason, good or bad.Some we are still trying to figure out .
There are however the few that arrive with little more than a ‘hello’ yet the effect they have on us is overwhelming and long lasting. They touch our hearts and our souls and these are the ones I draw on for inspiration. For me and my style of writing these are the people who help me develop my characters. In All Tomorrow’s Parties I knew I wanted strong lead characters. People who were strong but flawed, because lets face it, none of us are that perfect.The character who eventually became Laine Marshall was an eclectic mix of traits I had seen and valued, inter twined with those which were perhaps not quite so admirable. The thing I was sure of was she needed to be strong enough to take the knocks of life. However, she absolutely needed to be steadfast in her inimitable search for love. I hope I managed to convey this.
Lately I have been taking inspiration from photography. The images photographers can and do create are powerful. With all good works of art there is the immediate visual impact, then the pause and then for me the inspiration. It’s this third part which has led me into many unseen directions. Whether or not an image was supposed to convey those emotions or directions is irrelevant, the joy is, it does. Like the changing of the seasons you can go back and revisit. Everytime you look through the window you see something new or different. Keep an open mind. Inspiration can come via professionals or via the rest of us. I have been looking back at old holiday snaps, who knew they could send a mass of inspirational sparks flying… but they did. The same can be said of music or literature. My point is to use everything around you as a tool. Yes of course you will always revert to where you are most comfortable but don’t exclude anything. A conversation I had with friends last weekend has sent me off in a completely new direction for my WIP (work in progress).
I have recently come across a body of work called intersections by an incredibly talented photographer called Bertil Nilsson all I can say is Wow. Take a look for yourself, I hope it inspires you as it has me. Pinterest is another great source of inspiration, if you haven’t got to grips with it yet I strongly urge you to check it out. The boards I’ve created are completely random but they get me to thinking. So now enough chatter its time to get creating….
Blog alert… now that sounds funny doesn’t it? I didn’t know how else to describe it. I’m featured on my author friend Linda Caroll Bradds blog today. I would love for you to pay me a visit. After all I don’t want to be a complete Billy no mates, ah poor you I hear no one cry ever! So toodle on over and see what you think. A few comments would be a nice thing to do or even a download or 2 of my debut novel All Tomorrow’s Parties and when you’ve read it without putting it down ( no I haven’t finished yet…) a review on Amazon or Goodreads would be a nice way to end off the weekend. What do you say? Bossy me? Never! Oh here’s the link to my musings about a writing life….Linda Carroll Bradd
So dear readers, here I sit. I ruminate on the fact that another week has passed and the passion for my craft is still there (despite the time challenges I currently face). Twice this week I have had conversations that went something like this.
‘Oh you’ve published a book how exciting’
‘Eh Thank you’
‘I would love to write a book but I just don’t have the time’
‘Neither do I’
‘Yes, but you are obviously good at it’
‘Eh no, just committed (in more ways than one I fear)’
‘Well I couldn’t do it’
And there my friends is the rub. My debut novel All Tomorrow’s Parties did not happen over night. I do not magically have more time than anyone else, no matter how hard I try to defy the rules of time and space (close your eyes tight shut and really really believe). No the difference is I can’t stop doing it, its an addiction, a passion. It is never hard work. Painful? Yes, especially when you sit blankly in front of a bright white screen and time passes and passes, but hard work? No never.
The good news is that book 2 is well on its way. Now at 25,000 words and going like a very well known Japanese train! I’m trying really hard to write something every day. Some days that can be 3 words other days it can be 3,000 but every day it has to be something -emails to friends and family don’t count:( or emoji’s for that matter. Something that has really helped me of late is writing ‘Flash Fiction’. If you are wondering what Flash Fiction is this article in The Guardian sums it up perfectly. David Gaffney is one of the best at writing very good, very short stories. I’ve now written 3 entries of flash fiction, one of which I’m pleased to say made it to the semi finals of a 300 word competition (yea me). It is helping me hone my limited skills. With a limited word count you have to be as creative as you can with not much room for manoeuvre. It’s a challenge, a bit like figuring out a puzzle but I’m loving it and its helping me. I’ll look to post a few of my flash fiction pieces on my blog over the coming weeks and would love to hear what you think.
I may even set up my own Flash Fiction competition but that may have to wait just a wee while……