Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Settings and Plots

Lately there’ve been a lot of blogs written about where we get our ideas for stories. I’ve decided to jump into the fray. For me it's a smell, photo, vacation, painting, performance, movie, kilt, personal experience, and so on. Ideas are around everywhere and when the right moment strikes with the right idea my story begins. I am an author who relies on my characters to guide me along through their story once I place them where I want them.

Setting is easy. I live where my historicals are set and can find living history all around me. We have plenty of buildings left from the 1849 gold rush in California. With camera in hand I have explored most of them, including a saloon that has a savory reputation even today.

Who I choose as my heroes happened when we were in the Highlands of Scotland three years ago. We had stopped at a small eatery and started talking with an elderly couple who were riding bikes. The gentleman said they had just spent time in front of a pile of rocks that was the grave of some Scotsman named Roy. I nearly jumped out of the chair and screamed, “Not Rob Roy MacGregor?” He nodded and graciously gave us directions to the church where the Scot who has been in so many stories I’ve read and loved over the years. Standing in front of his grave in the churchyard in Balquhidder was an experience I won’t forget.
I could almost hear the bagpipes echoing in the tall mountains and Rob Roy yelling as he chased ‘bad guys’ through the glens and mountains that surrounded us. I decided not to join the many authors who write stories set in the Highlands, but rather bring my heroes to the Gold Rush era from Scotland. Those Scottish hunks have a way of stirring my imagination and lure ny heroines to fall in love with them. Life can be so good!

13 comments:

Joan Leacott said...

Levi jeans meets Highland kilts; what an interesting combination. Setting is indeed a great source of inspiration. I witnessed a storm once, that inspired all sorts ideas.

Mona Risk said...

Paisley, I love your stories and keep my fingers crossed to read them in books very, very soon. Keep writing about Scots who became American pioneers.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for stopping by, Joan. I'd say just about anything makes a kilt fun. At the very least, it can stir the imagination. ;)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You are too good to me, Mona. Thank you for your support and encouragement. ;)

Jill James said...

My dentist has Netflix so I just recently watched Rob Roy while I was getting a crown put on. I was swept away with the beauty of Scotland. I hope it was actually filmed in Scotland because it was beautiful. I loved the story and was just enthralled. I will so go to Scotland some day.

Sherry Gloag said...

As a Scot I caan't agree more, there is a magic about the place that sooths the heart. I love your pic.
Jill I hope you make it, I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I have the film but doubled checked..yes, Rob Roy was filmed in the Highlands of Scotland, Jill. We actually found the DVD in the B&B we stayed at and watched it. Scotland is one of the most breathtaking places I have ever visited. My Mom's side of the family came from there and I think every Scottish gene I have surfaced while we visited. I so hope that you do get to visit.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks, Sherry. I would move to Scotland in a heartbeat. My emotions took over while we were on a boat on Loch Ness. I started crying because I was so moved. When dreams come true, it is truly something you never forget.

Anne-Marie said...

I love how you chose your heroes. My plot, characters, and settings come to me usually in my sleep. I wish sleep would come to me in my sleep. :) But usually I can run the story through my mind, or at least a general plotline.

Great post!!!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks Anne-Marie. I never dream about my stories except on a rare occasion. I wouldn't mind kilted warriors in my dreams... ;)

Lee Lopez said...

Funny you should blog about this today. I also blogged over at www.thenakedhero.com about this very thing, finding ones muse through experiences and pictures. I took pictures of the area around where I live, rich with old California lore..I've been to Scotland also, but have no desire to write about the heroes and heroines who lived there. There is plenty of authors, doing that for me. Like you, I'd rather write about home, here in California and history that sings like a treasure trove of tales. Unfortunately the pictures on the blog were taken not long ago in area of Mt. Diablo now engulfed in a wild fire.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Oh no, Lee. I hope the fire isn't close to your home. I can't imagine anything more terrifying than a forest fire and living in the El Dorado Forest I am fully aware of how quickly they can be on you.

You definitely live in a beautiful area. Keeping my fingers crossed you and yours stay safe and that the firefighters can put out the blaze quickly.

Joanne said...

Paisley,
We were in Scotland 3 years ago for a home exchange. We stayed in Glasgow, but also visited the Scottish highlands. I'm sure you'll agree that Scotland is beautiful, and there is no place on earth quite like it. I'd return in a heartbeat.