People, places, poetry, perfume, music—these are sources of inspiration, sensory stimuli that trigger memories or images we shape into moments in our stories. We draw on this store of experiences to create realistic characters and settings, and emotional responses. After all, if we can capture the essence of something which has moved us, that moment of truth, we can elicit a similar response in readers.
Consider the power of a piece of music.
In my debut novel, White Ginger, two songs provided pivotal moments. When Arne returns to Kauai ready to tell Amelie he loves her, Etta James’s “At Last” plays as background. I set the song to play on a continuous loop on my iPod while I wrote. Both music and lyrics inspired me and the scene almost wrote itself. Then, being the Il Divo fan I am, I couldn’t go past “The Man You Love” for their wedding dance. (Or maybe it was just an excuse to hear Carlos sing those beautiful words to an audience of one!) Feel free to share the pleasure! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhHiArf6mU0
On a recent trip to visit my daughter in Melbourne, we took a tram ride along Flinders Street where an abandoned red brick building caught my eye. Over our long weekend stay at the Langham Hotel, I kept thinking about that building as Melbourne worked its magic on me. The meeting between Andie and Matt emerged as the opening scene to my WIP, Merger in Melbourne.
The taste of grilled aubergines and tomatoes, the crisp tart flavour of limoncello as I sat opposite the Duomo in Amalfi, that first sight of Tiberius’s palace ruins and the Blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea beyond--I have multiple story ideas that have their roots in last year’s trip to Italy. It’s wonderful to relive moments and places through my writing and share them with readers. But this propensity to daydream does have an occasional drawback when I realise, in the midst of a conversation, that I’ve ‘zoned out’ and lost the thread because a moment or a whole scene for a story has filled my imagination.
Yep, I’m a great travel companion alright! Thankfully, my apparently random musings are not only tolerated by friends and family, and my children have grown up to appreciate the wonderful world in which we live--the beauty of moonlight on water, and the perfume of a glorious rose. They've also learned to ‘walk in another’s shoes’ and to live in a moment of wonder.
Writers give these gifts to readers all the time and we are blessed to have fantastic storytellers among us who, through the richness of their stories and their wordsmithing skills, evoke wondrous moments for their readers.
I hope you’ll come back to visit as my guest writers share some of their inspirations.
Till next time,