Traveling for Inspiration

People travel for a zillion reasons. Food. Culture. Adventure. Writers travel for all of these and more. Personally, I find that there’s nothing better to jump-start my imagination than a good vacation.

I just got back from a 9-day trip to Spain (hence my absence last week. Sorry for not having a new post for you). I traveled between Madrid, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga; ate great food; walked a zillion miles; and found inspiration galore.

As you know, my Withered World project is winding down, which means I’m now gearing up to write my next work titled NightWind. This book is going to be an interesting mix of things: Fantasy with a sprinkle of Steampunk, inspired by my 2016 trip to Japan as well as my 2017 trip to Spain, and my main character is a Japanese woman whose name is Rion (pronounced Ree-own) after a 7-year-old girl I met while there. Her mother is good friends with my friend who I tagged along with. Is that enough 6 degrees talk for you? Anyway, I thought her name was really cool and wanted to name a character after her. I was told that there is no “L” sound in Japanese but they wanted to name their daughter Lion, so she became Rion instead. And what better name for a fantasy story heroine than Lion?

While in Granada, we toured Alhambra, an ancient palace and fortress. As a part-time fantasy writer, there’s nothing better than getting to tour a palace and fortress. I was absolutely ecstatic when we got to the top of the mountain and started wandering through the grounds and buildings. It really got me thinking about how my own character’s fortress would be set up. I was able to  get in the mindset of my characters and pretend like I was my main character walking around the complex and looking at things through her eyes.

My own fortress is going to be up a large hill/small mountain. I had decided this before visiting Alhambra. But, one thing I didn’t think about was how big of a place it could be and how many stairs there would be to climb. I imagined Rion, a new warrior, running around the complex and having to get used to all of the stairs to ascend the towers.

Another thing that struck me were the tiny, narrow windows that you can shoot arrows out of but make it really hard for outsiders to shoot in. The richness of the gardens and the fountains (I know those aren’t ancient) were also eye-opening. Lastly, I loved looking down at the small city below. This was another perspective that will prove useful as I begin to fill in the details of the world.

Here are some photos of Alhambra which will serve me well as I move forward on this project.

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Check out my inspiration board for NightWind that I built doing Pinterest research.

Have your travels ever led to a new project or at least inspiration for a project? Please share your experiences in the comments!