Saturday, 20 April 2013

Where I Find Inspiration (part one) - Joint Post

     Writers are often asked where they find their ideas. So to answer that question three of our team - Elizabeth Kay, Karen Bush and Chris Longmuir have got together to share where they find theirs.
  
Elizabeth Kay - visit website

I find my inspiration from my travels, no question. Whether it's in Kiev, watching a political demonstration, or swimming in the pool at the foot of the Angel Falls in Venezuela, these are the memories that are the strongest. It's not just the visual. 


In Costa Rica it was the taste of gallo pinto, the smell of wild ginger, the call of the bellbird, the feel of the sand between my toes as I waded across an inlet. These are the details that make stories come alive, and why the written word can be so much more evocative than an image on a TV screen. Costa Rica was the most magical place I had ever visited, which is why I used it as the starting point for my children's fantasy The Divide.

Karen Bush - visit website

Sometimes an idea for a book or short story is sparked off after giving a riding lesson: or maybe while chatting to a friend and setting the world to rights: and of course, by things that have happened to me, or to friends.  


My horse Flash


So on the whole, it’s my ‘proper’ job as a riding teacher, and the horses, ponies and dogs. I own and meet which provide the on-going source of most of my inspiration, whether it’s fiction or factual books.

Writing assistants whippets Archie & Angel

There have been writers who have inspired me too, although in the style rather than the plot department. One of the earliest of these, once I started writing short stories, was Caroline Akrill. 


I loved her articles and stories which appeared in a number of horsy magazines, and later the books which she went on to write. If you’ve not come across her writing, then a modern day equestrian version of Jerome K Jerome is about the closest I can get to describing her style. Her books are spectacularly good: some of the best equestrian fiction which works across the 8-80 year age range, a feat not easy to achieve for any writer. When I actually met her at Pony magazine’s Martini Awards I was struck dumb with awe and could barely mumble ‘Hello’ to her, let alone hold a coherent conversation. She kindly took me under her wing and showed me how to get my empty glass refilled (hold it upside down and watch the highly trained and appalled staff rush to fill it). I tried for years to emulate her style. It took me several more years to realise that you have to find your own.   

Chris Longmuir - visit website

This is a tricky one, because I’m never totally sure where my inspiration for a plot comes from. When I write I usually start with a scene plus a character, and I don’t know where that character will lead me. However, I do know I’ll be led down some dark and dangerous places.


I suppose my background as a social worker helps me to understand the dark side of life, then there are always newspapers. It’s amazing what you can get from some crime reports. I also read a lot of true crime, so I suppose inspiration comes from there.

But at the end of the day I think my inspiration comes from my own mind and imagination. 


We hope you have enjoyed discovering where we find our inspiration and hope you'll be willing to share where you find yours.    

1 comment:

Chris Longmuir said...

I'd completely forgotten I'd contributed to this, so it was a nice surprise, as well as an insight to where others get their inspiration.