Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Infinite Inspirational Sources for Characters…

September 29, 2013

Nocturnal – definition: of, pertaining to, or active at night


There are numerous animals that roam in the night, adapted to life in the dark. One of my favorites is the bushbaby not just because it is the sweetest little bundle of fur but also because my parents nicknamed me, Bushbaby. I was a small child but had the largest blue eyes ever.  It is the bushbabies large orange eyes that are so special enabling perfect sight in the dark but none in daylight hours. The size of them restricts any movement so the creature is constantly turning its head as it travels in the treetops. If a human skull structure was similar our eyes would be the size of soccer balls.

When we create stories and characters things that interest us can be a great source of inspiration. Characteristics of a creature can be adapted for a fantasy personality. Take the bushbaby for instance. An alien that can see in the dark would be a great predator – this adaptation has been used in the movie Riddick.

It goes to show anything and everything can be inspirational if we keep an open mind.

Have you used a natural world adaptation in a character?

Use A Personal Experience to Add Depth…

April 6, 2013

Bog – definition: a wet spongy marsh; a poorly drained acid area in which dead plant matter accumulates and sphagnum usually grows in abundance.

wellies_tcm9-281955This word took me immediately back to an event that happened to me when I was about nine years old. We were on vacation in a quaint cottage beside an estuary. Wellies (rubber boots) over bare feet, wearing T-shirts and shorts, my younger brother and I went fishing for crabs. The tide was slowly ebbing out exposing a muddy riverbed. We happily poked around catching small crabs and fish to put into our bucket for a while. Then I spied it, a huge crab near the center of the expanse of mud. I stepped slowly hoping not to frightened it away.

Just as the crab was in touching distance I sunk. Mud oozed over the top of my boots and dribbled around my ankles and in between my toes. My brother starting laughing as did I, until that is I tried to extricate my boots out of the mud. I was stuck fast. No matter how hard I tried I could not get out. Panic set in and my brother could see it. I screamed for him to get my Dad. Thoughts of the tide coming back in and my drowning filled my mind as I waited. It felt like hours of course but was probably only a matter of minutes before my Dad appeared. He laughed at first but when he saw my face, told me not to worry. He strode towards me, grabbed me under the arms and pick me out of my wellies. I protested about leaving them but he told me they were lost, he would get me a new pair.

This sort of experience can be artfully used in our writing. Personal events and their emotional effect can assist us in describing a characters situation. Maybe one of my characters is stuck – I can remember that feeling and expand it to suit the scene I am creating. Small details make such a difference. I can still remember how that cold mud felt between my toes and how it smelt. Depth in a scene draws our readers in – go deeper into your self to find those golden nuggets, the ones that make your writing superb.

Have you used a personal experience or memory to help with a scene? Care to share?

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