J.J. Overton's Blog: Writing and Sci fi - Posts Tagged "inspiration"

Inspiration, and the start of a story.

We have an allotment, and a number of years ago, before the resurgence of interest in growing your own vegetables, our allotment association gave about two hundred plots back to the local council. The area has since been turned into a nature reserve.
A few months ago, number two son, Chris, and I took a walk through the nature reserve. The old plot delineations are still there, vague now and overgrown. Hawthorn hedges, old wooden gates, mostly rotten and holding no interloper out.
Within, with grass almost waist-high, moving in a breeze that is easy to imagine blowing from another time, are places where people tilled the earth and got the good soil under their fingernails. It is where smoke from their garden fires curled around and made their eyes water, and where they had pleasant companionship.
All is there, in that place of forgotten allotments. It is a place of memories, a register of lives . . .
Chris and I walked on and came to one particular plot with hawthorn thick at the base and at least fifteen feet high. Mostly hidden in the undergrowth beyond the hedge was a spade, and with the spade there was a story telling of a grand cycle of people's triumph over the rough soil, and their beautiful ordinariness.
I laid these images down into memory. This story would be very different to my science fiction novel, Leofwin's Hundred.
When I got home I began to write.

Until next time,
Keep well,
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Published on September 18, 2017 13:05 Tags: adventure, history, inspiration, social-history

The beginning of a story, part one.

We decided to have a few days away. It was to be both a holiday and a research trip . . . family history research, the sort of excursion that, in the past, had taken us to County Record Offices and, sometimes, to overgrown graveyards.
This trip was to be to the County of Devon. Chris, our youngest son, who was around thirty-five at the time, came as well. He has an adventurous spirit . . . we all have, I guess.
We hired a cottage for a week. It was in a picturesque place on the coast called Combe Martin, from where we could travel to Exeter's County Record Office and Merton Mill, the place where Sandra's mother came from.
Merton is a small village on the main A386, which connects Great Torrington and Oakhampton. Merton Mill is a hamlet, which lies in a densely wooded valley just under a mile from Merton village. We followed a narrow, winding lane off the main road to where, at the bottom of the valley, the lane divides to the left and the right.
We parked in a lay-by and stepped out of the car. Near where we parked there is a brick bridge crossing a small river which feeds a mill-race, and over the bridge a track leads to the mill itself.
Apart from the sound of the river coursing over the rough stones, all was quiet in the valley. The trees growing at the side of the road and up the steep side of the hill caused the sound of the water to echo, and it was easy for the mind to let go of today and settle into a time gone by.
"I was here, for a while, years ago," Sandra said. "I was about eight, I think; and I stood on the bridge." She walked over to it and stood on it again. We joined her and looked into the river, thinking.
"Where did you stay?" Chris asked. Her grandparents' house was nearby.
"I think it was up there." She pointed to the left, to the top of the hill. The three of us crossed the road and scrambled up to the top, to where it was flat. There were foundations of some buildings there, yellow bricks amongst the undergrowth. Chris picked one up, and I found an old enamelled bowl. We took the relics of a time long ago over to her.

This is the setting. The germ of the idea for a novel is strong!
What has inspired you?

To be continued in a few days, when you will hear about Mister X in part two of this blog.

Until then, keep well,
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Published on November 20, 2018 14:28 Tags: inspiration, novel, on-the-road, sense-of-place, setting-for-a-story

Writing and Sci fi

J.J. Overton
The aim of this blog is to explore reading and writing and the processes involved, with a leaning toward science fiction and fantasy.
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