Solo motorcycle travel has been a part of my life since 2007. I began writing my first fantasy novel in 2011-ish and published it in 2013. (I’ve been writing fiction since I was in junior high school.) The overlap of these two activities is not coincidental. Travel, especially solo, has always been an inspirational activity to me, even as a kid.
Seeing new scenery, from the topography and way the land flows up and down and along rivers and shorelines, to the flora of an area be it sparse and blanched or lush and green, to even the weather as it changes as you crest a hill or as the sun rises or sets, has been a constant source of creative thoughts and ideas.
I can look at a wooded hillside and imagine a troupe of orcs living in a cave amidst the trees, or I can see in my mind’s eye a dragon perched atop a rocky vista surveying its hunting grounds. Hiking trails inspire thoughts of a fierce battle to the death between a man and the beast that pounced upon him from behind a tree.
If you read my books, you may notice that weather and terrain get a little extra descriptive boost amidst the text. The lay of the land and the foliage as well as the skies above are almost another character unto themselves, playing out their impact on the activities — or even survival — of my characters.
It’s surprising that when I travel and meet new people, they have a minimal impact on my creative muse. Sometimes I’ll hear a line of dialogue between people sitting near me in a small town cafe, or I’ll catch a glimpse of someone’s face as they struggle through a personal trial or endeavor. Or occasionally a stranger-that-becomes-a-friend lends inspiration in the unusual spelling of their name.
People rarely inspire me, though, but the places I go and see when I travel never fail to juice my muse to new heights.
Take a look at this photo of an abandoned church I took during a recent road trip. What does it inspire in you? Who utilizes that structure in your creative mind? What role does it play in your story’s possible evolution?