I thought I’d start off my blog with a little bit about where I find some of my inspiration.
Almost everything I’ve ever written has started with a character. That’s just the kind of writer I am. Once I’ve started thinking about the character and learning a bit about them, an idea will come along for a situation to put them in that can drive the story, but that character has to be there first.
Sometimes a character will start from someone I see. A particular fashion statement or striking set of features or an interesting combination of hair, eye, and skin colors will get me thinking about what that person might be like and a character is born.
Another place I find characters is through images. I’ve included two with this post, both taken during a trip to Ireland several years ago. The images will invoke a feeling and a setting, and I think about what character fits that setting.
These pictures brought to mind a character I used in my NaNoWriMo project in November 2013.
Her name is Bláthnat Niamh, and she’s a Faery and a High Sidhe. She is the child of the Fall King and the Spring Queen, and is a blend of the two seasons. She has bronze skin with a goldenrod undertone. Her shoulder length strawberry blonde hair has little streaks of pastel colors through it. She’s tall and slender with vibrant green eyes that have bright red veins (like you see on a leaf). She has pointed ears a little longer than a human’s ears. She likes to dress in comfortable clothes like jeans and t-shirt rather than the skirts and silks in century old styles that her parents favor. One of her favorite things to do is to sneak out into the Mortal World and explore.
I can see her walking along the rocks at the water’s edge in the first photo, or standing far too close to the cliff edge in the second, her hair blowing in the wind.
If you’re looking for a writing exercise to get the creative juices flowing I have a couple that I use.
The first is to look at an image and think about what kind of character belongs in it. Who do you see? What are they wearing? What are they doing? What do they look like and how do they act? Now think about why they are there. Can you make a story out of that?
The second is to look at an image and think about the setting and what kind of story would happen there. Is it someplace isolated with few people? Or someplace busy where there’s always something going on? What kind of people frequent the place? How do those people interact?
I’d love to hear about what you come up with using one or both of the pictures I’ve posted.