Happy Sunday to you all! Thank you for reading my blog. It is still very new, but I am absolutely loving writing it and it’s helping to keep me focused on my dreams and my goals.
Today, I’d like to share a cute little post about finding inspiration in places. My imagination bursts into life where ever I go and in almost any situation i find myself telling stories in my head; I’m sure a lot of you are exactly the same.
But how can you start to consciously look for inspiration in different places and what should you look out for? I’m going to comment on five examples of places that have inspired my stories in someway and the way I used visiting these places to improve my writing.
1. The City
It’s not a new idea that inspiration can be found in the city, far from it. The buildings, the people, the culture; all there to tickle your imagination. A lot of my ideas were born in the city, especially London where my current Work In Progress is set. I’m not from a city, myself but I love city life and visit London as often as I can.
3 Reasons to Write about a City
1. They’re busy. You can bring in new characters all of the time and it’s expected that there will be a lot going on, leaving open possibilities at all times of the day and night.
2. You’ll have an endless array of characters to write about. Cities are alive with personalities. Just sit in a coffee shop window, with a note book, and take note of anything you see; quirks, relationships, fashion…it’ll really make your story authentic.
3. People can go unnoticed in the city. If your character needs to make a getaway, needs to follow someone or simply wants to live their life with their head down the city gives you that opportunity.
2 Things to think About
1. You’ll already know the importance of using your senses when you write and in cities I love to focus on smells. Fumes, food outlets, canals, the heat…don’t forget to bring these in.
2. Think about the ‘unnoticed’ parts of the city you’re writing about. For example, I’m writing about London and there’s parks and back streets that people don’t always think about. Exploring these spaces again gives an authenticity to your story, rather than just writing about the typical, touristy areas of a city; especially if your character is native to that city and knows it well.
2. The Forest
I’ve always loved forests. I grew up in the countryside near some beautiful forests and spent a lot of time walking in them. You can be truly inspired in the forest, either because of the setting or simply because it’s peaceful and you can clear your mind to think and let the ideas flow!
3 Reasons to Write about a Forest
1. They are a perfect setting for fantasy stories. I particularly love children’s stories that are set in forests. You can build communities, include animals and create creatures. Forests naturally feel like very magical places, so they really allow you to build a mystical world of your own.
2. As well as being magical, forests can also be creepy. They can be dark, misty and cold and instead of a mystical, fantasy story you could write a very real horror or mystery.
3. There’s a chance for your characters to make discoveries in forests. Either because things can be lurking beneath the trees or buried in the earth, or even because the forest is so deep no-ones every fully explored it before. Your character could find a settlement, an abandoned building…I love the possibilities in this setting!
2 Things to think About
1. Again; senses. As quiet and peaceful as forests are there’s other noises too. The sway of the trees in the wind, the bird song. You could really play on the sense of sound in a forest. Perhaps your character can hear footsteps but every time they look around there’s nothing but the trees.
2. Unless your character does live int he forest (e.g. fantasy story), the reasons why someone might go into a forest are endless. A quiet retreat, looking for something or someone. The story beyond the forest will be just as important as the story within.
Villages are a much cooler setting than some might think, and sometimes even open more opportunities to tell a great story than the city. Not only can villages be in beautiful settings but they usually have a very strong sense of community that can be fun to play with.
3 Reasons to Write about a Village
1. Small communities, where everyone knows everyone, offer a brilliant platform to tell a story. It means your characters can interact with everyone, it usually breeds gossip and rumours and people tend to react more to relationships and conflicts in this tight-knit situation.
2. A lot of villages have pubs. Pubs are a brilliant place to write about; you get some brilliant characters in the pub, another big sense of community and also a lot of stories being told. It’s a perfect setting for characters to overhear conversations, get to know someone more and experience the vibe of the village.
3. Villages are a great setting for the present and the past. And as a lot of villages (I’m speaking from the point of view of England here) are still very old in terms of their buildings and streets, you can visit a village today and still be inspired if your story is set in the past.
2 Things to Think About
1. People often live in villages as generations of their families have before them. Try a story where the past re-plays it’s self or perhaps your characters story is effected by the past in a way he/she never expected.
2. Bring in an outsider. In a close-knit community a stranger will always be cause for gossip and interest. Especially if you allow something big to happen in that time; a murder perhaps, or another crime. Having an outside in the mix will really shake things up.
No-one likes hospitals, but the potential to tell a story is huge. Hospitals are full of people with different lives, different issues and different roles. Intertwining these can create something really special. And I find that even sitting int he waiting area of a hospital sets my mind alight with story ideas.
3 Reasons to Write about a Hospital
1. People are born in hospitals. That start of a new life is so exciting and such a happy moment for most people. Someones birth can be a big factor into how the rest of their life plays out and so opportunities to tell stories are born here too.
2. People die in hospitals. The complete opposite and of course something that, sadly, most people can relate too. In stories, quite often when someone dies the story awakens. Perhaps they confess to something on their deathbed, or reveal a life-long secret. Again, the potential here is huge and emotion in a story is always so important.
3. Hospitals can test peoples strengths, weaknesses and patience. You can bring out a lot about a character in this situation. And if they’re in a waiting room, with not a lot to do but think, you can explore their mind and tell their back story.
2 Things to Think About
1. I’m going to go back to senses here. Smells and sounds may not be the first thing you choose to describe in a hospital setting but will make a story here more convincing. Especially that ‘too-clean’ smell that resonates with anyone.
2. Write from a doctor/nurses perspective. Perhaps two characters who are being treated are part of the same story, but they don’t know it yet. Could the doctor be the one to piece it together? I love the idea of writing about these figures and what they see, find out and learn by treating patients.
5. Train Stations
This section could work just as well for airports, but I’ve chosen train stations because I love travelling my train and do it a lot. If you’re travelling alone it’s a perfect time to do some writing; waiting for the train and the journey its self. I’ve done a great deal of my writing by travelling and have found that a station is a truly perfect place to find inspiration.
3 Reasons to Write about a Train Station
1. I adore the mixture of ‘motives’ that people have for being a train station, you always see a real mix of different people with different lives. Commuters of to work, tourists on holiday, locals off to visit friends or family or go shopping. I really love to look at all these people and think they all have a story to tell that I will never know. And so, naturally, my mind starts writing these stories for them!
2. People saying ‘hello’. How lovely is it when you see someone run off of a train and into the arms of their friend/family/partner. Seeing people reunited is a really satisfying part of waiting at a train station. And sometimes, as well, people meeting for the first time and the awkwardness and excitement of it is inspiring too.
3. Switching it around; people saying ‘goodbye’. The sense of an ending, the sadness of a goodbye; you see it all the time at stations and airports. As much as a ‘hello’ can a great starting point for a story, so can a ‘goodbye’.
2 Things to Think About
1. One train will stop at several destination, so as well as people going to the same place, for different reasons, you get people going to different places all together. I think this truly opens up potential to tell different people’s stories and yet allow them to intertwine as pure coincidence puts them on the same train.
2. Trains get busy and so often you have to sit next to a stranger. On a long journey you may find these two people get talking; what a perfect start to a relationship, good or bad. I think this is a perfect premise for a story with a twist.
This has been quite long, but I hope that if you’re writing about any of these places, this post has given you something to think about it.
I’ll try and keep it shorter next week!