Tuesday 22 July 2014

Seeking Inspiration

I made a joke on Facebook yesterday, about spending the afternoon untangling the synopsis of my new book, Trust Me I Lie. It has two timelines, so I meant that I wanted to make sure each flashback scene was in the correct place. It is easier to experiment with moving paragraphs in a synopsis, than it is to move huge chunks of text in a 100,000 word book!

My friend (and fellow Novelista), Valerie-Anne Baglietto, misunderstood and thought I was stuck and in search of inspiration. She kindly listed all the ways I could kickstart my imagination: Create a Pinterest board (she knows how much I love Pinterest), create a 'soundtrack' of inspiring music or, failing either of those, eat cake! (The Novelistas have a bit of an obsession with cake!)

Valerie-Anne and I apparently share some methods in common. I've already created a Pinterest board. And I've blogged about the inspirational benefits of Pinterest before (here). It is easy to dismiss Pinterest as a time sucker - pinning and re-pinning pretty photos of dream houses and cupcakes, but for a writer it's incredibly useful. For my new book I have pinned photos of the ruined house where my novel is set, which is based on a real place called Baron Hill. I have famous quotes, which sum up the character of my heroine, who has a different temperament to anyone I've ever written about before, and references to all those dark, gothic-style fairy tales which I love, because I have a character who illustrates them.

I have a soundtrack too - don't laugh! It's an incredibly useful way of plunging yourself right back into your story when you've been interrupted by the more mundane aspects of life, such as the household chores! My playlist for Trust Me, I Lie has an eclectic mix of tracks, including My Superman (Santigold) Sweet Dreams (Emily Browning) and Once Upon a Dream (Lana Del Ray).

What else do I do for inspiration? As I've said, in Trust Me, I Lie one of the characters illustrates classic fairy stories, so I've been re-reading some of the darker ones. You know, the stories which don't always end with a Happy Ever After, because they were supposed to have a moral? For example, Little Red Riding Hood (Le Petit Chaperon Rouge), as retold by Charles Perrault, was intended as a warning to young girls to beware of smooth-talking strangers.

I've been taking photos of locations - mainly spooky old houses and woodlands. I don't have a scene set in a graveyard yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time! I've created a new village - Raven's Edge, which was briefly mentioned in Nemesis. I've been brainstorming ideas in my notebook and discussing the plot with the Novelistas, who have an uncanny way of pointing out all my plot holes.

Inspiration? Not a problem!

But synopsis wrangling ...

Related Posts:

I Heart Pinterest (for Novelistas Ink)
Tales of Smugglers and Seaweed (the inspiration behind Breathless)
Music: Wings to the Mind

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