Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Possible Story?

Recently, a couple of posts, by Laura Martone and Lady Glamis, got me thinking about what inspires a story. Many ideas seem to spring from random whims, and some from snippets of real life.
Here’s a possibility…

A handsome young artist attends a soiree, where he notices a pretty newcomer. Alas, his scorned lover befriends her, thwarting his attempts to make her acquaintance.

Some time passes, during which he works to perfect his art. He hears she marries, and so does he.

More time passes. His marriage dissolves, as does his satisfaction with his painting. Consequently, he undertakes a study of an American Impressionist, copying his loose style, even replicating some of his work.

Through mutual friends, he hears about the young woman, that her marriage blew apart.

Maneuvering providence, he places himself in her company. He studies her face and falls in love with her countenance. Inspired, he returns to his studio and paints all night…

Of course, she marries him—how could a woman resist a man who, from memory, paints her face on a masterpiece?

...And they live happily ever after.

Sometimes real life situations inspire the best stories. I know there are many out there…

John Singer Sargent’s Mrs Henry White, with some alteration.


  1. I think real life is the best inspiration. Even if it's only taking little quirks from people you know and giving them to your characters. That's a great story.

  2. I love inspirational quirks and incidents—combined, they make good story fodder.

  3. Most people think that since I write fantasy everything comes out of my imagination. But real life is often the inspiration for a great deal of my work and characters. Fantastical worlds and plots just give me the format to explore things more... freely! :D

  4. Oh, without real life being the inspiration, I think that we would all be lost, lost, lost. :) You're very right, and you've drawn just the right insight. Thanks for sharing, B!

    As for the watercolor, it's beautiful! I love it.

  5. I agree with TLH and W - real life is a terrific source of inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, B, and for acknowledging my blog! This online writing community thing is awesome! Why did it take me so long to discover it?

  6. TLH,
    Thanks for dropping by. I have difficulty comprehending the mindset of the fantasy writer; that’s an insightful correlation you draw between both worlds.

    I’m glad you like the painting. My husband forged—er—um—copied it. You should check out the link to the original.

    4:56 am? Did you actually wake up that early or did you just not go to bed at all?

  7. Teehee. Er, that would be the latter. I'm determined to finish your critique this weekend! I know what you're thinking, "That girl sure is dedicated!" No, that's not what you're thinking? "That girl sure is nuts!" Oh, I see...

  8. Please tell me you're not loosing sleep over this critique thing, otherwise I'll start loosing sleep.

  9. Real life is great for inspiration! I'm not sure any of my story ideas have come from real life, though. My life seems so dull and boring, although I know that I could write some very good stories out of it. Just not ready to do that yet.

    Glad my post could inspire you a little! Thanks for the mention. :D

  10. Michelle,
    I haven’t written my aforementioned tale yet. Too personal and too incriminating to go full length. Writing this was a fun exercise in ‘how brief can I be without sacrificing the story.’

    Nevertheless, I think it’s fair to say that as writers, a good deal of our stories are simply embellishments of our own people and lives.

  11. That's so romantic and an excellent likeness. Thanks for sharing!

  12. SF,
    I'm sure Mrs. Henry White was a lovely soul, but she looks a bit pinched. I must admit, I rather prefer having my face there, even if only for the sake of romanticism.