Saturday, 18 August 2012

Story Ideas from Memories...

I'm looking forward to September arriving so I can get back to a set routine, and stop causing annoyance to my blog readers, due to my regular posting slots going awry.

All writers get ideas for stories from different sources and I thought I'd share with you a recent inspiration.

I'm very much a visuals person. When characters or situations arrive in my conscious I'm always presented with a scene from the viewpoint of one of the characters involved. Pictures will often get my brain ticking over...

I was looking at a few news pieces in one of the online national newspapers, and an article drew my attention, because it was about a place I'd visited a number of times when I was a child/teenager. The Dreamland amusement park in Margate, Kent.

Like many seaside places over the years, their parks have gone into a decline, run-down and then closed; but the visual archive in my memory still has pictures of the place. They just needed something to remind me.

After a day on the beach, first stopping to brush the sand off my feet, so I could put my white socks on, and then my sandals, we would walk along the prom to go into Dreamland for an hour.
I remember the various slot machines and the general pinging and clattering of coins going into or coming out of the machines.
Then out the back doors into an area where you could get a drink, a cup of tea or coffee, and observe various rides.
I remember greenery and big rocks mixed together as a moving object rides by. The areas beyond that didn't stick in my memories, but I suspect that's because that first outside area I saw-in my young mind-was to me, a jungle, a sparse jungle with hindsight...

I've since discovered that a few of my writer friends have their own memories of the place too.

So now I have a character on the outside looking in. I don't yet know her name, or age, nor what her problem is- perhaps she has a decision to make?

It was fun revisiting my childhood memories, and perhaps some of them will turn up in my mystery lady's story...

Have you ever read about a place you knew when younger, and used it as inspiration?


  1. I'm a visual person too, Carol, and I can imagine how many memories must have surfaced for you. It's a great way to get inspiration.

  2. When I was in the doldrums last year I started a childhood memory diary, and now have a single-spaced document of 40 pages. There shouldbe some material there when I run out of inspiration.

  3. You're right, Rosemary. I've been going through a lot of old family photos recently too- they're a good source for what type of clothes were being worn too.

    That's a wonderful idea, lizy.

    So often we don't write these memories down when they come to us, and then they slip back into storage and get forgotten.

  4. I know exactly what you mean, Carol. I too have used a setting from my childhood. A place I visited on a school trip - Eyam in Derbyshire. It was the scene of a dramatic real life event - the plague in 1665. It made a lasting impression on me on that trip and now I have used it in my recent book.

  5. I've heard Eyam is a very atmospheric place, Pat.
    Some places do grab you like that and they don't go away, they are always in the back of your thoughts.

  6. Despite my interest in photography I don't generally use images as story prompts. I do use memories though and often use real buildings and places in my stories - although I'll change them to suit my needs.

  7. That's the wonderful thing about being a writer, Patsy, we can take reality and manipulate it to fit our story needs.

    Perhaps being surrounded by photography is why image prompts aren't your preference...

  8. Hello Carol, I think Lizy's idea of a childhood memory diary is an excellent idea. Never thought of having a diary specifically for that purpose.

    My prompt for childhood memories is smells. Mmm, freshly cut grass reminds me of the long hot summer days just before the school broke up for the holidays. That was in the days when we used to have a summer, lol.

    Best wishes
    Debbie W


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