Thursday, 16 October 2008

India Falls Down a Deadline Hole, and Abby Green Takes Charge!

India Grey has asked me to blog for her to try and distract people from the fact that she’s not blogging. Listen, I don’t mind, the longer her glowing blog stays up about my book the better!!!

But I do feel like I owe her something in return so lucky you, you’re stuck with me. Now the only thing is, what to blog about?

Inspiration is something I’ve been thinking about lately and how essential it is to the whole process. Because ultimately if you’re not being inspired, you’re not getting excited about something and that’s one of the nicest parts of writing. It’s the first step in the process. And brings the most original ideas, sets you apart from the pack, helps to get you published…

I always find that after you get the spark of inspiration, and then sit down to write the thing, you start to veer off on tangents and when you look back at the thing that inspired you first, you’ve come a million miles in a different, not necessarily bad direction. That original kernal usually gets lost in the mix somewhere and sometimes that’s all it was ever meant to be, the intial spark.

You’re also getting into the hard nitty gritty of making something work, crafting your story and all the twists and turns you never dreamt of. And it is hard work!

For my current book (The Spaniard’s Marriage Bargain), I can’t remember what sparked the idea, but I can remember thinking to myself: what would be one of the worst things a woman could do? And to me that would be to abandon her child/baby. There is very little justification for that in the eyes of the world and society. And then I wondered what would make a woman, a mother do that, what possible reason could she have? And then the story grew from there.
I find magazines a great source of inspiration, I keep scrapbooks and I pull pictures out all the time. It can be anything, just a hint of an idea within a picture. The way a woman looks, a model in an outrageous outfit.


And movies! Movies are a veritable coal mine of inspiration, for instance, one of my favourite sequences of all time is the bar/love scene in Out of Sight, and I’m shamelessly using that as inspiration for my current WIP.
Check it out here: http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=oy4N3fWBpj4
The thing is, inspiration is all around us: pictures in galleries, stories on the news, pictures in magazines, scenes in movies. It’s just a matter of staying open to seeing stuff, not getting bogged down in the logistics of thinking something might not work. And then you have to keep asking yourself, what if?
What if that person met that person? What if he thought she was like this, when she’s actually like that? What if she misjudged him? What would be the absolute worst kind of person for this person to meet? What does this person want? And why can’t they get it/have it?
I think it can get very distracting to spend a lot of time ‘casting’ real people, which invariably means actors, in the roles of your heroes and heroines. Ultimately they have to be in your head. It’s nice to have a face to go with the person in your head but I think we can end up identifying too much with the actor/actress we’ve cast in the role, and that takes away from the unique character we need to build up…
Having said that, I’m using Laura Bailey the British model as my current real life model for my heroine


I have her pictures on the desktop of my computer but it only serves as a guide, something to bring me back to thinking of her in a concrete way – I don’t really want to know about Laura Bailey the person. I have no model/actor picked out for my hero because I can’t find one, but it’s ok because I can see him in my head, and as long as I can transcribe him believably onto the page, that’s all that matters. Whether I pull it off or not remains to be seen!
My current WIP has had a bit of a helping hand in that the characters already appeared in another book. I introduced the hero Tiarnan Quinn (*) as the brother of Sorcha in Bought For the Frenchman’s Pleasure. He only appeared briefly but seemed, to me at least, to make a huge impression. And Kate, my heroine is Sorcha’s best friend, who also only appears briefly. For some reason I wanted Kate and Tiarnan to have their own story, and who knows what made me think that, or to even set them up in such a way. But now I’m in the process of trying to figure out how to get them together and what’s keeping them apart…
So in the spirit of looking for inspiration, I hereby now command you to go out and buy yourself a copy of the magazine of your choice. Be utterly decadent and go for November Vogue, or in light of the current economic climate you might want to go for something like Elle. But buy something, and buy some chocolate and indulge. Pull out pictures, make a collage of images that strike you - for whatever reason - it could be a place, or a person, or a story. Or if that sounds like too much hard work, the new James Bond movie is out in a couple of weeks…



just watch and enjoy!






And now it’s time for me to get back to work and forget whatever it was that inspired me to do this current story in the first place…and then the whole process will start all over again with any luck!
Thanks Abby... now get round here and write my book, do the ironing and clean out the fridge.
(*) Tiarnan Quinn. Seriously, seriously hot hero....

7 comments:

India said...

Abby, the whole point of casting real people IS the distraction. What excuse would I have to spend all day watching youtube otherwise?

(Oh yes, good point. If I didn't spend all day watching youtube I wouldn't be in this deadline nightmare again...)

Rachel said...

Dear Abby,

What a lucky girl that Mrs Grey is to have you to pitch in and help out (did she save the oven cleaning for you too?)!

You can't fault a bit of youtube inspiration in the form of David Gandy in his Dolce & Gabbana pants I find.

Nice final pic by the way...

Lots of love,

Rach.
XX

Anonymous said...

Well Rachel, obviously I was thinking of you and that picture, a little treat! And yes, that clip of David Gandy, oh my god-it should come with a health warning.
Right, back to the oven, and then the toilet and then pick up the kids from school and then the dinner...
Abby...

Kate Hewitt said...

Daniel Craig always inspires me... and I can't wait for the next Bond film! Good luck with your deadline, India. I'm trying not to panic about mine, esp. with a baby added to the mix...

x Kate

Michelle Styles said...

Good luck with your deadline, India.

I find it is not so much having the real life person, but knowing that they could play the part.
What does a Daniel Craig hero bring that a RichardArmitage hero doesn't? How would they each approach the role? What mannerisms do each use? What are the shape of their hands?

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right Michelle, a 3 D image is the best inspiration. Especially when you can compare and contrast to your hearts content! As if we need any excuses to see the new Bond movie, or Out of Sight again, or Last of the Mohicans, or...you get my drift...
x Abby

India said...

Kate-- serious respect. I wrote about two chapters in nine years when mine were small, and only managed to contemplate a deadline once they were all in school. You are a goddess.

Michelle, you totally hit the nail on the head (again). It's movements and mannerisms that bring the characters to life for me. I was converted to the idea of casting when I watched a clip of Alex Pettyfer, who was WAAAY to young to represent a Presents hero in any literal sense, but there was something about the way that he moved and smiled that fitted the character I was creating. It's just shameless exploitation of the shallowest kind, really...