This past weekend I had three days off, and all to myself. It's not often I get such a luxury. And what did I do with those three days?
I wrote 4000 words of my English-gardener-transported-to-Van-Diemen's-Land story.
Since I 'cast' all of my characters, once I've got them settled in my mind, writing about the English gardener means having Ewan McGregor on the brain. I often turn to a file of photos I've got on my computer featuring my inspiration actors. Most of the time they're still shots from different films they've been in, with the actor caught up in an emotion that's central to the major scenes from my own story.
And watching scenes from the films themselves really helps. I 'download' the way the actor moves, the way he speaks - and my own character just takes off inside my mind.
Here's a little peek into my inspiration for the five stories I've got on the go. Not all at once, of course. They take turns.
The first character who came to me was Guthrie Carmichael, a Scottish gamekeeper on an earl's estate in the 1820's. Once I felt I knew him well enough, I cast him as English actor Sean Bean.
My character has similar coloring to Sean Bean, but Guthrie has gray eyes instead of Sean Bean's blue ones. And I don't let the actor's English nationality get in the way of my character's Scottish background.
Here's a backstory poem I wrote from Guthrie's point of view. It really gets to the heart of his motivation:
Gold That Burns
The second character who came to me is Robbie Flynn, the English gardener in 1840's Cheltenham. I cast him as Scottish actor Ewan McGregor.
You see how I don't let the actor's nationality affect the way the character comes to me... English-actor-inspires-Scottish-gamekeeper, Scottish-actor-inspires-English-gardener.
In a bizarre bit of trivia, the estate where Guthrie the Sean-Bean-gamekeeper is employed is set near Crieff in Scotland. This was worked out before the gardener story came to me, before I started looking up info about Ewan McGregor. And yet Crieff is where Ewan McGregor hails from.
Here's a backstory poem from Robbie's point of view:
For Helen He Would Do It
The next character that came along was Jock MacKeigan, a highland clansman fighting the English in 1746. I cast Scottish actor Robert Carlyle for this character. First match of actor nationality to character background!
A very recent poem posted for last week's Poetry Train gives a glimpse into Jock's tough, fearless fighter:
Take One More With Him
A magnificent character who came to me is the Dark Ages vampire, Peredur. By the time Peredur came to me, I already knew he would be 'played' by Gerard Butler. Peredur is Welsh, but Scottish Gerry will do fine. Just fine.
Although I didn't specify that this poem was from Peredur's point of view, I think I can share this secret with you now:
The Red Joy At Last
Last but emphatically not least is my latest arrival, Scorpius, chamberlain of Lady Elinor's keep. He appeared to me in the guise of English actor Richard Armitage. Scorpius is a paranormal/fantasy character, so Richard's English background is a total plus.
Here is Scorpius' backstory poem:
How Can I Ache For What I Never Had
Who are your favorite inspirations?