Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Inspiration - Buildings

Do you ever look at a place and begin to imagine things about it? Hear a song and try to figure out what happened to the artist when they wrote it? (Clearly Taylor Swift and Adele let you know what happened!) Visit somewhere and see beyond the landscape? And then I have this mind that wires it all together. I see a creepy house and I hear the theme music from CBS Mystery Theater, or Night Gallery (giving away my age on these, I suppose). I see a landscape and I imagine pixies swirling around hoodoos. These things pop out uninvited, when you're least expecting them. Today's blog post centers around "places" that inspire, and more specifically, Living Canvas.

Hillcrest Inn"Castle Valley Inn"
I got married in a B&B, and we spent a lot of time visiting them (guess where that part of Living Canvas came from?). When I walked up to The Hillcrest Inn, I knew that was "The Place." There was an ambience around it that drew me in. When I was writing Living Canvas, I didn't originally know Audrey wanted to run a B&B, but it started to make sense as the story unfolded and I remembered the way I felt the first time I saw Hillcrest.

Then, as I was driving home from work one day, I passed a house that sparked my imagination. THAT was going to be Castle Valley Inn in the book. The only problem was that I wanted the wraparound porch. The "castle" house would look wrong with a wraparound porch.  So I started an internet search for wraparound porches, and that's when I landed on The Mandolin Inn.
Mandolin InnVisuals. That gets the brain started. Can you picture yourself sitting on the porch at Hillcrest? Imagine what the inside of that other house must look like? And I can tell you what the inside of Mandolin Inn looks like. I look at these places and think, "Wow, what a beautiful place." That evolves into, "I wonder what it would be like to live there." Which follows on with my personal catalog of haunted house movies and stories and "wouldn't that be a great backdrop for a story?"

So I "glom" all this stuff together, add in a secret room and an unsolved mystery (wherever the imagination takes you). Now you get an idea of how my mind works. All of these places are just a piece of Castle Valley Inn, along with other more "homey" touches from much less "visible" places. My own personal knowledge stores.

The only thing left is to add characters, throw them into "a situation." Decide what their goals are, how they plan to accomplish them, what's important to them and what stands in their way. To me, this is everyday daydreaming, but when other people ask me about it and I tell them, they are dumbfounded. Not everybody is wired the same way. Looking at a house for some people never gets past, "wow, that place is beautiful." Or it manifests itself more as "I wish I could own a place like that some day." For some people, it's about how to decorate it. Me and my imagination, we move right in and invite you over for tea.

Next week is the travelogue. Places that inspire me.

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