September 2019 question – If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be, and why?

Today is another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. You can also visit the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh for more info and links.

The question of the month is timely. The place where I write inspires the story. When I wrote my play, Coffee Shop Confessions, I sat in a coffee shop (most of the time). As I was preparing to write a story for this year’s IWSG Anthology Contest, I needed to put myself in the mindset of a junior high/middle schooler. I needed to bring myself back a few years. I exchanged messages with my sister, and we relived some moments of the 1980’s, and giggled at a few of the fashions. I brought a blanket outside, along with a glass of water, a brand new notebook and freshly sharpened pencils. I felt like a kid again, lying on the blanket, imaging a story about fairies and the farm where I grew up. 

Looks inviting, doesn’t it? I added the cookies for effect. Then, I ate them.

It worked! I wrote a story that I feel good about. My sister gave it a read-through and offered a few suggestions. I did more editing, a little outside on the blanket, but more inside on my laptop at my kitchen table, then I sent it in!

I would love to spend some time in an old house like the one in Wendy Webb’s The End of Temperance Dare. So many great stories of spirits and family secrets come from those places. Not as terrifying as the old mansion in Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but a little like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. All are great atmospheric novels with mystery, suspense and colorful characters. I’m also rereading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. She’s a master at putting characters in isolated and mysterious places and giving us a puzzle to solve. I would have fun writing a story like that!

Setting is important for mood and atmosphere. I enjoyed feeling like a kid again, lying outside on a blanket, daydreaming, watching the shapes in the clouds, and doing some writing with pencil and paper. The words flowed out of me, at times. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to be on the family farm with the scenery, animals, people, and smells that I remember. 

My cat Leo watched from the wood pile.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What places, smells, tastes, or sounds trigger memories for you? Where would you like to go to be inspired?