Saturday, 6 September 2014

When inspiration strikes!

I always seem to have lots of ideas for plots and characters swirling in my head, but with a full-time job and an inability to write two different stories simultaneously, it often feels more like a curse than a blessing.

I often find that inspiration for a new story strikes when I least expect it, for example when I'm driving and I see an unusual name on a road sign or a map - a name which is almost a story in itself, or when I am sitting in a café or a restaurant and overhear a few words of people's conversation, or even just when I'm having a walk alone around the reservoir near where I live...In the past I have also found ideas in poems and songs, in a piece of classical music or a painting, in a dream even!

Places are a great source of inspiration too, but it's not always the obvious that can be inspiring. I recently visited Bordeaux in the South West of France. It's a beautiful town, with quaint old buildings, narrow cobbled streets and tiny squares with picturesque cafés.

I loved walking along the river Garonne between the town's new bridge and its old 'Pont de Pierre' - Bordeaux' famous stone bridge.
Moored between the massive river cruise ships full of tourists was a small, decrepit, abandoned boat with a very unusual figurehead.

I knew straight away I had found something very special but I didn't quite know what exactly until tonight when I was chatting about Bordeaux with my daughter. She said something about that poor old boat, left to rust along the quays. We started talking about who it could belong to, why it was empty...and suddenly an almost fully formed plot and cast of characters emerged in my mind. I hurried to jolt everything down, and a few minutes later, I even had the opening sentences of the novel and the title too!

Now I am so excited I can't wait to get started on this new story - it's just like going on a new adventure. I do however have another romance novel to finish first.

What about you?

How do you get your inspiration for a story, and what was the most unusual way you found ideas for a novel? I'd love to hear from you.

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