Building the blocks of a Story...

# "Some guy on the net thinks I suck, and he should know - he's got his own blog..." # - Ben Folds

Back in the dark ages that most people know as the mid-1980s, a primary-school aged C.G.Allan was hooked on a kids TV show called Look and Read.  The show had a weird floating alien (or was he a robot?) presenter called Wordy and various story segments, including short serialised screen adaptations of stories like the spooky "Dark Towers".  But it's a tiny animated clip about building words that stays with me most today...

It went something a bit like this: "Why don't you build yourself a word? Build yourself a word with an '-ing' Take 'write', take 'ing', build yourself a word... Writing... WRITING!" The word you were asked to make changed from week to week but that was one of the reasons I returned time and again to watch the show as an eager 7 or 8 year old, to see which word was next.   Now as a 38 or 39 year old, I still hum my "writing" version of it whenever I'm trying to motivate myself to get scribbling again...

It's the things that I actively use to motivate myself to write that I wanted to write a post about this time round on the blog.  From inanimate objects, to family history and even podcasts, there's no end to the things I turn to and draw on, in search of the elusive scribble muse whenever I find myself stuck in the doldroms of writing inspiration.

I posted here on the blog late last year about how music and scores to TV and film help provide the soundtracks to any new stories I'm writing, but I'm also listening to more and more podcasts in 2015 too.  Two of the more recent discoveries I've made in the writing audio spectrum are ones I'd highly recommend for any would-be-author.  The first is a UK-based podcast from Warwick University by David Morley and provides weekly writing exercises, with the offer of sending in your scribbles for feedback.  And the second is a US-grown podcast called 'Inside Creative' Writing, which I'm currently making my way through - it's got some brilliant insights into scriptwriting (which I'm also trying to gain experience in) as well as prose writing.

As I've blogged about in 2014, another thing I like to draw on to create my fiction are episodes from the real-life stories from my own Allan family history.  These mainly come from the tall tales told by my parents and the keeper of Allan family lore, my Uncle John.  Once my imagination grabs onto these story threads and begins to grapple with them, they take on a life of their own and I view it as a personal and fun writing challenge to add on my own fictional elements, heightening the realities of these tales, interweaving new strands into the web of conceits I base my narratives around.

Another rather large influence on my creative scribbling is travel - whether it's trekking across the UK or trotting far and wide across the globe, I always collect objects to bring back with me from my annual holidays that I hope will inspire new adventures in my mind as I put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard on my return to home base.

The truth is everything and anything I see or do as I make my way through life inspires me to write (which is one of the reasons I hang onto this crazy dream of being an author - that creative spark just won't go away) but the ones I've outlined above in this post are perhaps the most reliable ones I've found to keep me writing regularly, which as most scribblers will know, is half the battle in our war with words... 

So in that spirit, then, here's one final glimpse at another aspect of my life which inspires my writing - it's a more man-made and self-constructed thing though - my writing shelf! And to round off this post, below is a collection (in no particular order) of pictures that have appeared over on my Twitter and my Instagram pages to show objets d'art which I litter about the place to keep my imagination flowing:


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