Friday, 21 June 2013

Objects to inspire …

Physical objects help a writer get into the "zone". There are some days when the blank page just stares at you and you can feel that dreaded "block" forming again. It helps me to have something physical on my desk near me as I write, that is appropriate to the story I am working on. Looking at the object or holding it in my hand helps me get into the mind-set of whichever character I’m writing about.
This is a simple but effective method to stimulate the imagination.

For Wrath and Remembrance I used a 10mm spanner, same as Jack Parrish uses during his job at the furniture factory:

A silver crucifix attached to a metal key ring, along with a steel disc, on which I had the words “In God I Trust” engraved. In the story, this belongs to Miriam Walsh and then later Jack comes to own it:

A paperback copy of Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem:

The poster for the 1972 version of Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. During the time I wrote Wrath and Remembrance this movie was in my video collection. I later replaced it with the DVD when it became available:

For Comparing Scars ...

...I used a leather bag similar to the one Jake Callan carries his belongings in:

For Hitting Back ...

...I used a cigar tin of the brand Lenny Durning smoked:

A Descent Recorder, also shown in the cover image, on which Lenny played Gabriel’s Oboe:

For God’s Soldiers ...

...I used a fake ornamental bullet. This one I bought from a goth store and it was originally attached to a black leather necklace. I don’t like wearing necklaces so I switched it to my key chain. The bullet was appropriate as there are so many shootings and gun fights during the course of the story:

The time-scale during God’s Soldiers also took in the release of the 2002 movie version of Solaris, directed by Steven Soderbergh. This movie came at just the right time and I was happy to include it in the narrative as it is Jack Parrish's favorite story (and one of mine). I also have this 2002 version in my DVD collection:

For Hank Shank VIII ...

... I used a page-sized copy of the portrait by Hans Holbein. As my fictional character, Hank Troud, was based on Henry VIII, it was easy to draw on this for inspiration:

For Blood and Water ...

...I used a varnished stone I bought from a "new age" store that sold all kinds of quirky gadgets, alternative jewelry and ornaments. In the story, this is the "blood stone" Vincent and Barney use as a prize for winning games of backgammon:

For Backlash ...

... as Darryl Brewer is a musician, I used a blues harmonica:

I have always loved music and writing this book has inspired me to take the step and make the time to learn to play this instrument. To date, I can play Red River Valley, Silent Night, Midnight Cowboy (theme), Girl in the Dark (Callan TV series theme), Ballad of Serenity (Firefly TV series theme), Promise Me, House of the Rising Sun, and Beethoven's Ode To Joy. I have a stack of other tunes I'll learn when I eventually get the hang of these. Learning the harmonica has always been on my "bucket list" of things to do. Whenever I practice, I try to ignore the pack of dogs that show up howling outside.

Torn Sheets ...

... is still in the 'outlining' stage, so I haven't found any objects to inspire as of this writing. I'll make an update on this when I do.

1 comment:

  1. That is such great advice! I never thought about using real objects as inspiration. I tried this method when writing a poem about my recently departed cat (he was almost 15), and I used photos of him. It works! Thanks :)