Where do writers get their inspiration? The initial idea can come from anywhere. Something said. Something seen. A book you read and think “I could do that better.” Once you start, details creep in from everywhere – sometimes it’s not until later that you realise where they came from. At other times you know exactly.
Autumn means that the Writing Fiction class is back. This year there were a few new students, but most of us have been there longer. For the benefit of the newbies, we started with a few basic exercises.
Out came the box of postcards – pictures of people and places, paintings and photographs. Chose one of a person and one of a place.Write about that person in that place. Perhaps one picture will spark an idea. I grumbled a bit – I don’t want an idea, I just want to carry on with my book. But a painting of a medieval lady on a horse chasing wild animals reminded me of a hunting scene I had been thinking about. Result – another scene written.
The next week we were asked to bring in three objects that meant something to us. We talked about them. We wrote about one of them. We talked about the emotions they produced and we tried to turn the memory into fiction. Some amazing stories emerged.
One of my objects was a small bronze statue of a greyhound. It was a memorial of a dog we used to own. She was not a greyhound but of mixed parentage, from a rescue home. Her shape was lean and she loved to run. Her name was Poppy. She died many years ago, a few months after my father, so the emotions were of love, protection and loss.
For the hunting scene I had written I had looked up (good old Wikipedia!) information about Anglo-Saxon hunting dogs. It appears they were similar to greyhounds. Everything came together. My main character had acquired a dog!
For anyone who has been to The Hurst, which I mentioned in my previous post, you may have noticed two similar stone statues of dogs guarding the front door – no wonder I felt so at home there.
Inspiration is attacking from all directions and my book has reached 63,000 words. As I write, new scenes appear. I am racing ahead. Like a greyhound?
Last week’s class was held on National Poetry Day. We don’t do poetry, that’s a different class, but one of the group wrote a poem about us.
You can read it on our writers website Telling Tales on Thursday, together with other pieces of our writing.