Friday, March 8, 2019

Historical Items as Inspiration

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I write.  Not style, word choice, or my writing schedule, but the actual “how” of sitting down and writing a novel.
I have an active imagination for storylines, but need inspiration to get the thoughts flowing. Here’s how I do that…
For starters, I listen to music.
Right now, my personal favorites are the soundtrack to the movie All the Pretty Horses, and a cassette tape (I know, I have to drag out a tape player every time I want that one playing) filled with songs about The Oregon Trail from National Geographic.
I also surround myself with various props.
I write historicals so when I need inspiration for what my characters look like I go to an antique store and browse through the collections of photos of people. I have about seven such photos right now for my WIP (work in progress) in a pile right next to my desk.
Also, a silver jewel case is very significant to the storyline of my WIP. I found one I liked, complete with red velvet interior, and bought it. It resides right next to my desk. And, you can see it in the opening shots of my book trailer.
I often dress in “period pieces”.
Dressing in clothes/styles from the past allows me to get into the heads of my characters and gives me a sense of what it must have been like for the character to wear such clothes. This includes bonnets, floor-length skirts, frilly things, various styles of cowboy hats, cowboy boots, and a leather holster complete with the fake gun. (I included several of these in my book trailer)
And finally, this is what I tell myself when I think my writing is really, really bad, or really, really good.

What in particular inspires you while you’re completing a task?


  1. Wow, Christi, you really ARE into props. I use music as inspiration before I write sometimes. I often have a play list for the music, but I have to have complete quiet when I write. The only time I used an object for a prop was when I wrote THE VIOLIN. I kept my violin and a picture of my Uncle John who owned it before me near my desk.

    I enjoyed reading all about your prewriting rituals and activities, It's fun to know this about you. I wish you all the best...

    1. I've always loved the violin; it's such a graceful and curvy instrument, and a joy to look at. What type of music do you listen to?

    2. Christi, I listen to everything from classical to vintage rock and roll to smooth jazz, Gypsy soul music, and country, but I do not like rap. What is YOUR favorite, Christi?

  2. Christi, I'm always intrigued by how writers approach their work. I nearly always have classical or smooth jazz playing. My many trips to SE AZ yielded much inspiration for my trilogy: sights, smells, vegetation, learning the history and the characters who made it, pictures in camera and head. My notes fill journals and the "book bible" from note taking, museum visits etc. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Arletta,
      I have certain songs I listen to when I'm writing a certain scene. Once I played "Moonlight Sonata" over 100 times while writing a sad scene. My family is astounded at how I don't get tired of listening to a song on repeat :)


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