Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas is an inspirational time!

As Christmas is just three days away – ARGH! – I’ll keep this blog nice and short as I’m sure you’re all flat out busy.

An idea can grow from the smallest seed, and at Christmas time these seeds could be preparing to bloom at every moment. So keep your notebook, post-its, empty envelopes, torn bits of wrapping paper, or anything with the potential to scribble notes on handy. Here are some things to watch out for which might inspire your creativity over the holidays.

1.      Present unwrapping time: There is always someone guaranteed to receive a present that will set up the jokes and memories of the future. It’s real, it happens the world over, and pretty much everyone will be able to associate; even if they haven't ever been on the receiving end! I've still got some of my 'unusual' gifts from Christmas past, and I'm sure one day they'll end up in one of my novels!
2.   Disappointed faces: There’s nothing quite like the wide eyes that follow the reception of an unwanted gift. Young children might just be able to get away with blurting out an ‘I didn’t ask for this’ honesty, but the older you get, the more chance you have of causing lifelong offence. The forced smile; the ‘Wow! What an interesting present’ type response; the abnormally long focus on the item; and the final resting place of the gift when the attention is no longer with the recipient. Watch for the awkwardness, the cover ups, and the facial expressions.

3.    Christmas dinner: Watch your guests or hosts closely. See granny eat the biggest dinner of everyone and then ask for more. Take in the kids’ faces as they chew on a Brussels Sprout. Did the Yorkshire puddings get a little too crispy on the edges? Did the brandy butter flames get a little out of control? OK, some of these scenes might be cliché, but this is a great occasion for noting some humourous and memorable moments.


4.    After dinner ‘uncomfortableness’: Stuffed bellies lead to inevitable consequences. However childish one might find this, it can be utterly hilarious. Did granddad let one slip out as he snoozed in front of the TV? Who made the toilet smell like the bog of eternal stench? Who’s been in the upstairs loo for what seems like an hour? However posh or reserved a person may be, no one escapes the post-dinner aftermath!
5.   Evening game time: Trivial? Monopoly? Hungry Hippos? Anyone competitive in the family? Any rivals on opposing teams? Any disputes over the quiz master not speaking clearly? A classic time to observe the so-called easy going relatives, who often turn into victory hungry animals. The elderly who can’t remember where they put their bag, but whose eye is as sharp as a knife-edge during a game of Pairs or Bridge. Maybe your Jekyll and Hyde is lurking in the lounge on Christmas day waiting to pounce; particularly after a few 'small' glasses of brandy! 

Real people, real reactions, real experiences. These are essential elements to perfecting the character depth of your novel. Keep notes, set up the video recorder, take photos. Observe and enjoy.


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