Yesterday I managed to do my first post-lockdown trip, which also doubled as book research 🙂
The quarantine has been weird for me for more reasons than the usual. While most people got stuck in their hometowns, I had just relocated and got stuck in a city (and country!) where I’ve never lived before and knew hardly anyone. Can’t complain though; Copenhagen is far from the worst city to get stuck in, and I was able to work from home, so my job was fine. Still, now that things in Denmark are stable, it felt good to hop on the train and leave the city for a day, and combining the trip with book research made it even better!
Now that I’ve completed the Throne of Blood draft on my side and can’t do much more than wait for editorial feedback, I’ve started work on a brand new book.
It’s a historical fantasy based on several of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales and personal life. And while the novel is set mostly in early 19th-century Copenhagen, with a few detours into the Swedish wilderness, I thought it also made sense to visit the author’s hometown, Odense:
Everything in Odense is connected to H.C. Andersen!
You can see the house where he was born: Continue reading
You might have noticed I haven’t been posting as many writing updates as usual in the past few months. Three major things happened recently that have slowed down my progress, but hopefully things will get back to normal beginning of next year:
1) First, my computer broke
Completely. And because of some other events that happened at the same time, it was a few weeks before I could buy a new one. Computerless for weeks 😦
Also, I couldn’t use the computers at work for writing Throne of Blood because the work I do is theoretically “strictly confidential” so I can’t send files to external emails or use USBs or transfer data in any other way. Everything I write on the work computer stays on the work computer and is checked by numerous departments to ensure I am not leaking strictly confidential data. Needless to say, bad idea to write fantasy books on the work computer
What’s worse, the last two chapters of Throne of Blood were on my old computer, and I hadn’t backed them up, so I was panicking they were lost forever and I had to write them again from scratch. I checked some data recovery services around where I live, but they were all insanely expensive. In the end, I managed to recover all my data by myself, with the help of a screwdriver and a 2-Euro cable I got on ebay. Perhaps I should quit my day job and become a data recovery guy.
Oh wait… I did quit my day job.
But more on that later.
2) Next, I spontaneously went to Iceland Continue reading
What inspires you?
This is perhaps one of the more frequent questions writers get. What gives you an idea for a new character, new scene, new book? Inspiration is a tricky thing and can come from the most unexpected sources – reading a news article, watching a beetle crawl, hearing a stranger say a random word. When you go seeking inspiration, it is hard to say where you’ll find what you are looking for, but there are two main sources that are a great starting point – Art and Real Life.
Art could be anything – a book, a painting, a movie, a sculpture, a song. Real Life could be simple everyday conversations with the people in our life. Perhaps someone you know has an intriguing personality and you want to base a character on them? Or perhaps their past experience gives you a story idea? You can also get ideas from observing nature and from traveling and interacting with various people and cultures.
Museums are one place where art and real life meet. Here you can travel to distant lands just by taking a few steps. Besides inspiration they are also great for research – if your story is set in the past or in a place you have never been to, there is only so much you can learn from books. A trip to the museum can be a step into a different world and can give you a better glimpse into your character’s life and surroundings.
Since I’ll be living in London for a few more weeks before leaving the UK, I decided to make the best of what’s left of my stay and revisit some places that inspired me. The Victoria and Albert museum holds a few objects that influenced my writing. This post is about how you can use a trip to the museum to help you shape your story.