Monday, April 30, 2012

Photographic Inspiration

One of the lakes at Glendalough Ireland
In my writing group, one of my buddies asked me how I'm able to create such vivid descriptions. This kinda flummoxed me for awhile because I hadn't really thought about where I got my vision. But when I really thought about it, I realized it was mostly because of the photos I'd seen when I did my research.

Lough Key Forest Park, Ireland
The chapter my friend was inquiring about takes place in one of Ireland's forests. As I looked for locations on the internet, there were several things I was looking for. Particularly, the location needed to be somewhere near Belfast or Dublin and had to have a forest, a creek, and a woodland bridge.

As I researched the various forests of Northern Ireland, I came across a place I fell in love with called Glendalough Abbey. The medieval abbey, with its accompanying graveyard, captured my inspiration and I jumped on the location.

Location for Chapter One's final battle.
Two other photos added to my feeling of being there. One was of the moss and fern covered Lough Key Forest Park. I can't remember the second photos location, but it was also located in Ireland. This photo brought home the the fight scene at the end of the chapter.

How did I develop this pattern of inspiration?

I think it all goes back to a writing exercise in my Mountain Crest High School creative writing class. Our inspirational teacher had us pick a picture (photo or artwork) and write a one-two page story based on that picture. I picked a painting of some men on a ship in the fog. An old sailing ship particularly.

My Antagonist Inspiration
As I looked at it, I began wondering what the sailors were thinking. Was the man in front the captain? Was the hunched man behind him the first mate? My thoughts ran wild and I quickly had my inspiration.

Years later, I've found this 'trick' continued to work wonders for me. I've used it to see locations of my story in Google Maps. I've used it to get the flavor of characters by looking at lots of head shots. More importantly, it has allowed me to visit the world inside my own imagination.

So what way do you like to get inspiration? Do you use one method predominately or do you have a toolbox full of tricks? If you could choose your favorite method, which would it be?

Monday, April 23, 2012

7-7-7 Challenge

A couple writing buddies of mine have all been doing the 7-7-7 challenge. What this challenge entails is going to the 77th page of your current work in progress, skimming down 7 lines, and then posting the next 7 lines. The last part, tagging 7 other authors to do it as well, was too much like a chain letter to do that part.

And I hate chain letters.

Since I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's work, here's a slice of mine.

     “What do I need to decide,” I ask again?
     My mom grinds her teeth and turns back to me. “It's nothing. Lets go to our quarters.” She motions for me to follow her from the direction she came.
     I shake my head, trying to look angry. “I want to know.”
     My mom just points down the hall, so I look questioningly to the captain, “Well?”
     He gives a long slow sigh before he rolls his eyes and gives my mom a resigned expression. “Sorry, hijo. Talk to your Mom first.”
Now, I'm not going to tag anyone, but I'll encourage any of you other authors out there to give it a try. It is kinda fun!

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