A good storyteller always listens to others as well.

Started by Gyppo, January 26, 2023, 07:36:52 PM

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         Roadside characters/ships that pass:

   It's odd to look back and think about the characters which have shaped your ideas about life.

   When I was about twelve I saw two old boys (probably at least fifty) sat at the side of the road near a local petrol station.  They were taking a break whilst their old side-valve Harley-D cooled down.  One of those magnificent old bits of kit which looked as if it had never been cleaned but would run forever.

   I struck up a conversation as boys often do, commenting it looked similar to my Dad's Brough Superior.  Whilst one of them just sat there tucking into his sandwiches and brewing up tea on a little stove the other one told me they'd owned it for years.  It was ex-US Army, 'traded for a packet of fags', and then he told me a wonderful tale how they had toured France not long after the war.  'Living off the land, camping out with our shelter-halves, etc.  A little money went a long way then, Lad.  Plenty of wine, French food, and fine French fillies glad to welcome an English ex-Soldier!'

   But the bit which really captured my adolescent imagination was how they had '...realised we had spent up and only had one hour to make the last night ferry back to the UK.  And sixty miles to go.  I wound the bugger up to the stop and we roared through little villages, scattering chickens and geese, and old men in berets on bicycles.  We waved at pretty French lasses and hurtled down the slipway shouting "No brakes!  No brakes!" just as they were starting to pull up the ramp.  We threaded halfway up the deck between parked cars before we managed to stop.'

   It may all have been an old soldier's tale, but I can still picture it as clearly as when I first heard it.


Jo Bannister

As every writer knows, the one question you're always asked is: "Where do you get your ideas?"  Harlan Ellison used to tell people he ordered his from a warehouse in Schenectady, but the truth is - just what Gyppo's saying.  Life, and taking an intelligent interest in it.


I once jokingly told a struggling student that if I had a cracking idea, but couldn't see a clear plot to use it, I'd have to visit 'The Plot Lady at Ringwood' and buy one.

They asked me for her email address.  They seemed quite disgruntled when I told them it was a writer's joke.

As a tutor I'd sometimes throw out a 'skeleton plot' for my students and ask them to play with it before the next class, to see if it led them anywhere.  Some of them really thrived on this, but others were still 'waiting for inspiration to strike'.


Spell Chick

I have found that inspirations comes AFTER I start writing something.
Imperfect Reason My thoughts, such as they are.

Jo Bannister

When it comes to writing, as to most things worth doing, inspiration only gets you started.  It's perspiration that gets you finished.