|Dívčí Kámen, Czech Republic|
Great inspiration for my current historic novel
All photos by Melinda Brasher
1) Steal from History. This isn't only for historical fiction or academic articles. History--told well--is one long story. Visit museums, read informational plaques, take walking tours. You'll find fascinating details of history's crazy characters and its dark and bright moments. Take elements from here and there and twist them into your own story. When I was in Znojmo, Czech Republic, the history of the catacombs there fascinated me. I later incorporated them--in my own style, with many details changed--into my novel, Far-Knowing.
|Volunteering at a village school in Guatemala|
Seeing different ways of life is good for my writing.
|Hah! The perfect place to drop my poor miserable characters|
4) Visit Libraries. Depending on where you travel, libraries may serve as cultural or historic centers. If you speak the language, ask for their local section of books and see what you find. In El Salvador once, tired of "sights," I spent the morning in the library, reading local folktales. One inspired me to write "A Learned Man."
|Znojmo, Czech Republic|
Which served as inspiration for a setting
in my novel, Far-Knowing
Whenever you travel, carry a little notebook with you to write down these ideas and story kernels. Then, even if you don't use something right away, you can go back to this idea bank for later inspiration. Good travels!
Melinda Brasher loves to travel and has filled numerous notebooks with the things she sees on her journeys. She's also lived abroad in Spain, Poland, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. To read some of the work inspired by her travels, click the links above or check out Leaving Home, a collection of travel narratives and short stories, many of which were written on buses up mountain roads, in foreign town squares, or sitting in castle windows. Visit her online at www.melindabrasher.com