It was week three of our writing course run by Alex and Jude of http://www.writingeventsbath.com and this week we were thinking about plot. Considering I am in such a muddle with the plot of the Radwinter novel I’m working on at the moment I thought it was quite appropriate.
We had exercises to do thinking about the beginning, middle, end and blurb of a novel. I didn’t want to just write what I was already doing, it felt like cheating, it also wasn’t going to help me improve my writing, and what would be the point if I didn’t challenge myself. I felt momentarily stuck and then I remembered as I was driving to the American Museum in Bath where the course is being held.
I’d been in stationery traffic beside the viaduct along which the trains run. I’d been sitting waiting and glanced in my mirror to see who was behind me; two women, probably in their forties and to me they looked so similar I wondered if they were sisters. The traffic moved and there was a different car behind me; there were two more women, younger, chatting away, and there were two young children in the back, they looked a bout two and three years old.
The traffic moved again and the two young women and their children turned off and there was another car behind me… and the driver inspired me to write this:
Although it was quite cold, despite the brilliant October sun, he had the window open. his left hand was on the steering wheel but his right arm was resting on the open window, his hand to his mouth, which seemed a habitual gesture as if he was about to stroke his black beard or ask for quiet. He was wearing dark glasses, but he seemed to be gazing without seeing out of the open window, as if his thoughts were elsewhere.
As a stimulus we went over to the museum, and this week we looked at the quilts; I don’t actually have any interest in quilts, quilting, or that sort of craft work, but I tried to be open-minded and tried to be inspired. When we returned for coffee, biscuits and writing, I had the idea of someone inheriting a quilt, a man I called Simon Jones; Simon didn’t really want the quilt which had been his grandmother’s but Emma, his cousin, who he’d never got on with desperately wanted it. There’s some history between them, which I’m not quite sure about, but Simon decided to keep the quilt he didn’t want just so Emma didn’t have it. I’m not sure I’ll go anywhere with this… it doesn’t really grab me…
But the man in the car… the man with the dark beard and dark glasses, who I have now called Darius… I might write something about him… maybe someone falls from the viaduct and lands on his car bonnet…
That is what inspires me… observation… I saw the man in my mirror for about ten maybe fifteen seconds… but there he is, with a name, and I’m beginning to see a back story! I’ve used to buskers from bath for my featured image… maybe one of them is Darius!
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