What have I been working on this week?
Last week of school holidays so lots of shopping trips, not much writing going on. I lined up an interview for next week with a woman who lived in Fortitude Valley in the 50s/60s: the setting of my WIP. Other research was spent immersing myself in fiction and non-fiction set in Brisbane. It is an odd thing to have to do as I have lived here for nine years, yet am unable to conjure sights, smells, sounds of the place, as I have been able to for stories set in India, the UK, the mid-west of WA where I haven’t spent nearly as much time.
Matthew Condon’s memoir of Brisbane has been instrumental in creating a sense of Brisbane where its swampy, sweaty hills beside a sullen river can feel like ‘home’. His work also explained to me why I felt so detached, as so many new Brisbaneites are unanchored by a personal or political history. This knowledge lies largely in local memory and oral history.
What’s inspiring me this week?
Unwilling to leave the cool of the shops, I took the kids to see Middle School. I was resistant. The kids were desperate to see it and La La Land wasn’t playing simultaneously.
But as I protested against watching it, my son said that I might find a story idea, ‘as it is about revenge’.
Basically there are two story lines running through Middle School–the action one that is resolved in the climax, and which involves all the main characters, and the personal story between the protagonist and specific people close to him. This personal story provides many of the internal obstacles and conflicts to the main action story line, often stopping the protagonist from taking actions that might resolve the major action sooner. This personal story line does not get resolved until the denouement. Often, in a novel, not until the final 2 pages.
So my son was right. Not so much in finding a new story idea, but for illuminating story structure that might help me improve my future writing. There are stories everywhere, and inspiration can be found where you least expect it. My children inspire me by turning everything into a lesson.
And there has been yet more inspiration. Who could fail to be inspired by the women’s marches around the world? Through teary eyes I read the signs–some held by children still hopeful of a better future.
Some of my favourite signs read:
What do we want? Evidence based science. When do we want it? After peer review.
Same shit, different century [held by women dressed as suffragettes]
We are the resistance [with photo of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia]
What part of my project am I avoiding?
I still don’t have a plot for my current WIP! If I sit at my desk (under the fan) long enough, with sufficient cold wine, I am SURE the muse shall strike me next week.
What have you been writing this week?