Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding Inspiration in the Mundane

Earlier this month, I spent the weekend at the at a very old hotel in San Antonio, Texas for EPICON where I met up with a few TWRP authors, several editors and publishers and many other talented colleagues. But that’s not what I want to tell you about.

While there, I did very mundane and touristy types of things—strolling along the river, eating Mexican food, shopping for shoes. (Yes, I love shoes, too.) But everything took on new meaning this trip. I might have been doing the same things I do in my hometown, but the new location made me see these events in a whole new light.

As I strolled the river, they were dying it green for St. Patrick’s Day. On recent trips to this great city, I wondered what would happen if someone fell in, but this time I wondered if the dye would stain a person’s skin and hair green. And how long would it take for the dye to wear off? That brought a dozen or so scenarios for the first meet of a hero and heroine. Think of the possibilities. A Martian hero looking for a mate? A were-reptile? And the obvious, a leprechaun? Or what if she had an important job interview?

Later during dinner, we were entertained by a mariachi band and the waitresses all wore colorful blouses and skirts. This one took me back in time to the days leading to the siege of the Alamo. I thought of a hero who might have spent his last moments with a lovely senorita he’d lost his heart to. Of course, she’d have to take matters into her own hands to prevent him from dying a tragic death as he fought in the historic battle. Happy endings are a must. Maybe she’d tie him up and keep him in the root cellar. Well, for Scarlet Rose, she’d have to tie him to the bed.

So, did I mention the hotel I stayed in was old? During free time, I roamed the hotel, admiring the old yet elegant d├ęcor and letting my imagination of days gone by wander. Oh, and looking for ghosts. (The hotel is rumored to be haunted.) Wouldn’t it be the perfect place for a paranormal story? The heroine is a ghost trying to break free of a curse? Or maybe a heroine gets lost in the maze of halls and instead of walking into her room, she ends up going back in time? And entering the hero’s room?

Shopping for shoes? Sorry, no stories popped for me here. I just had to throw in the fact that I bought a nice pair of heels. Okay, now that I think about it, that’s definitely a Cinderella story. Very contemporary. The heels would have to be a couple inches higher than the ones I bought. And kickass red, not black with bows.

Why am I telling you all this? I just want to remind you that as a writer, you have the greatest gift and if you only open your mind to your daily happenings, your imagination can take you anywhere.

By the way, I never saw any ghosts, but with a little imagination, even groaning pipes can play with your mind…or inspire a story.

Diana Carlile
Sr. Editor, Scarlet Rose


Tiffany said...

I like the idea of a were-reptile or the martian finding a mate :-) also liked the idea of the ghost wanting free going back in time to the hero's room instead. Some great ideas from the mundane indeed.

Roni said...

Awesome blog Diana. Like your visit to San Antonio, I love to let my mind roam free when I'm in new surroundings. Everything can be an inspiration if you simply open your writer's eye to the possibilities of the next "cute meet" or plot. Just today I was listening to a friend of mine talk about her new horse and my mind was drifting to the business of horse breeding and dressage.

Glad you didn't find any ghosts in the hotel but you still won't get me to stay there :)

Jannine Gallant said...

Loved your blog. I play the same "what if" game all the time. Today's scenerio on our snowshoe through the woods - My dog was digging furiously in the snow, trying to unearth a stick, but what if it turned out to be a human bone... Can you tell I write suspense. LOL

Casea Major said...

Diana - It was such a pleasure to meet you at EPICon and I loved your post. I got a few story ideas too. With a the ghost talk, antique woodwork and Big Band Jazz playing in the lobby, it was hard to keep my imagination in check. Who knows, maybe you'll see a 1920s love story cross your desk with my name on it.

Roni said...

Another game I like to play is to watch couples, old couples, young couples, ugly couples, pretty couples - any couple and wonder what their story is. How did they meet? Who fell for who first? What is their history? I love letting my imagination run wild that way.