As a writer, inspiration is my bread and butter. Without it, my mind becomes a mass of random, disconnected thoughts and I struggle to even contemplate sitting down to write, let alone taking the time to actually do it.
And yet inspiration can be elusive and I frequently find myself at a loss of how to proceed. In these dark moments, I will flick through my ‘Book of Crimes’, an ideas book in which I plan the basics of all my stories and crimes. But, whilst this allows me an in route to create the rough plot of my story, it very rarely helps me set up my characters or backstories.
Because that is what a reader really wants. Not just an elaborate plot with all the twists and turns to keep them guessing, but engaging characters who they love, despise, route for and care about. And without these characters, you haven’t got a story.
This week, I announced that my new website has gone online and, as part of the announcement, I also revealed that I was writing a short story to run as a prequel for my debut crime novel, Obsession. My reasons for doing this were simple; I wanted to give my readers a taster of what they could expect from Obsession without giving the game away. I therefore opted to set the story two years before Obsession although, as you will eventually discover when you read the two, the stories are very nicely connected to each other.
Having made that choice and alerted the world to the work in progress, I then found myself stumped. I knew what message I wanted to convey in the short story and I knew how I wanted to end it. But I had no idea what sort of situation and characters would I was going to create.
I therefore decided to go for a walk along the riverbank. Passing through the fields around the river, I stared at the scenery around me and listened to the chirping of the birds and an idea began to form in my head. This idea was still very much in its developmental stages when I past a couple walking their dog. In the brief time when I was within earshot, I was able to establish that they were talking about the UK General Election. A moment later, one of them said something that suddenly caused an image to fully solidify in my mind…
I had my story.
Of course, I am not going to tell you what that comment was, nor am I going to reveal the details of my story… Not yet at any rate.
I guess you’ll just have to visit my website, sign up for the newsletter and wait to see what I have in store for you all…
But it just goes to show. Inspiration can come from the most random places.