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.