Friday, February 7, 2014

Where inspiration comes from

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

I'm working on Booktown #9 (which, so far, has no title ... might be a contest in that, but not quite yet). In the beginning, there is no plot. That's just the way I work. For months and months I've been ruminating about the subplots, and so that's where I've been concentrating my efforts. But now I've got the plot and it's been full steam ahead.

But once you get the basics of the plot, you have to fill in the rest.

In this book, I've introduced a new entity in Stoneham; the Historical Society.  But where would such an entity be located and what would it entail? Of course, I have backstory I can mine, and this time I've mined the home of Hiram Stone, Stoneham's founding father.

But what would the home look like?

Well, what do I know about historical places in New England? Not a lot ... but I know how to use Google and I also watch TV.  So, my house and garden are based on a house I saw on a recent episode of This Old House. The place is known as The Gardens At Elm Bank, and it is breathtakingly beautiful.

Of course, at this point, I've only had one scene take place at the house and garden--a lot of research went into this, but it may just be that it has little more than a drive-by in the finished story.

But that's the way research works.  Writers often gain encyclopedic knowledge on one aspect of a story, when they can only use a few nuggets. But boy do I now want to visit that garden.  So ... a trip to Massachusetts might be in my future.

Do you like learning about real places and things when you read a novel?