Sourcing writing inspiration

In my first degree, I studied Creative Writing as a minor. It was the first time that I started a project under the scrutiny of a teacher – and it was not fun.

This was during my T.S. Eliot faze, so my idea was to combine his poetic style with a dream concept post-apocalyptic civilisation. My first problem there was attempting to be any form of poetic – it’s honestly just not a talent of mine. I had planned it out well enough, but I was limiting myself to 10,000 words to tell the massive story I wanted to tell.

After some painful feedback from my teacher (honestly, in hindsight, she was awfully unsupportive and critical; she would just tell me it was shit and honestly never believed I could do any better), I re-scoped my project.

My new plan involved using lines from T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men as chapter headings. This was SO MUCH FUN. Similarly to creating historical fiction, it gives you a basis for plot points, structure, timelines and character development. To some, this may sound like the easy way out when writing. But it’s actually so much fun; it’s a way of discovering your story that genuinely makes you excited to start writing.

Long story short, my writing back then was juvenile and I’ve since redrafted several times. The shots above were my original notes from 2012. Below is my redrafted inspiration with a more detailed idea of the plot and characters for a novel- length tale.

I’ve cut out any lines that simply don’t fit into my story. I’m lucky that Eliot’s work is out of copyright so I don’t have to worry about including these lines in my chapter titles.

Now, if only I could stop redrafting the first chapter!


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