24.3.11 | By: Megan Langham

Inspiration Times Ten

Third time’s the charm, I suppose. This is the last in my unprojected trilogy of Volunteer Mission posts, inspired by something Jenny and Abigail got to first. Ten things … ten … that inspired me during my not-quite-finished writing of the aforementioned Volunteer Mission. As a matter of fact, I was working on something else (Vale of Darkness character sheets, I think) when I found the beginnings of this post scribbled on a nondescript sheet of paper.

I know a hint when I see it. So now I’ve touched up the things I had and added five more—and, whether you wanted it or not, here it is: inspiration times ten.



1. Hornblower: Retribution. A certain devastating plot twist in this film provided the impetus for the very short story that became Volunteer Mission. The story turned out rather differently than I’d expected, but it did help to ease the pain. (Of course, we won’t mention the new pain that it brought all on its own—but hey, that’s the life of a writer. Deep emotional involvement is all part of the job description, or at any rate it ought to be.)



2. Heroes of History. This book by Rosemary Sutcliff was my first real introduction to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd; after one glimpse of his intriguing story and passionate personality I knew he must make it into a book of mine someday. As it happens, he’s now become more of an invoked name than a personal presence in Volunteer Mission, but that’s due to my changing the dates after I’d already done the planning. If Mission’s prequel ever happens, the last native-born Prince of Wales will be much more prominent.



3. The Middle Ages. I’ve always been inexplicably intrigued by this era, particularly in Britain. Though it’s hard for me to write about, I keep finding myself planning stories with that setting. It must be a matter of the subconscious. Or something.



4. The Price of Honor. My first NaNoWriMo attempt. It’s been languishing ever since December ‘09, never having gotten beyond a first draft, but it piqued my interest in Wales and the Welsh people. Also, its idea of driving revenge helped me iron out a major plot point in Mission.



5. David Garrett. Oh, David Garrett. I must have listened to his rendition of “November Rain” fifty times over during NaNoWriMo: his energetic strings-heavy style lent itself readily to almost every mood I needed to create. Passionate, playful, gentle, despairing…I found something of his to suit them all.



6. Tazo Berryblossom White Tea. It may not be my favorite tea ever, but the pleasant push of it does wonderful things to my muse. Not to mention that it being white tea, I can drink it with safety for a few hours before bed—but it’s still caffeinated enough to give me my “fix”.



7. The Welsh Marches. Stunning. One glimpse of this incredible natural beauty is enough to inspire me for hours—this picture in particular had something to do with my decision to (figuratively) spend November in Wales.



8. The Book of Taliesin. During my September/October researches I came across this collection of early Welsh poetry: so beautiful even in translation that I want to learn to read it in the original Welsh. It makes several moderately important appearances throughout the course of the story.



9. Jon Foreman. His EPs, particularly the songs “Behind Your Eyes”, “Broken From The Start”, and “The Cure For Pain” have become intensely meaningful in this context. Besides, the gentle intensity of his music is inspiring in itself, and is very easy to listen to over and over.

10. “God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.” —C. S. Lewis. That sums up a good deal of what I have learned during this process: what has made it at the same time painful and exhilarating beyond anything else I’ve ever written. Lewis ... well, he knows how to put things.


3 missives:

Rhoswen Faerie Wrose said...

It's interesting the things we find that inspire us, isn't it?

Let me guess...another thing I should do?
Why do you guys keep doing this to me?! Now I'm going to keep mulling this kind of thing over until I do it! :-P

Love you! :-D *snugs*

Megan L. said...

Yes. Now that you have read this, you /must/ follow suit -- it's a curse of sorts. :P

*snugs!*

Keaghan said...

Ah! Another Jon Foreman listener! :) So glad to know I'm not the only one...I love his solo music (as well as Switchfoot, but that's another story.)

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