As an author of fantasy fiction I’m always on the look out for story ideas, and I’m often inspired by the wonderful and magical-seeming places right here on our own version of Earth. I found this incredible photo on Pinterest, on the boards of a lady called Robin Lee. I don’t know you, Robin, but thank you for this wonderful photo and the story ideas generated from it.
Castles, and big houses generally, often feature in my stories. Arriana’s Trial has a castle of a very special nature :)
I have no idea where the castle in the photo is, beyond being somewhere in Ireland. I don’t know how old it is, or what its history is. All I know about it are the feelings of wonder is creates, and the possible storylines that spring from those feelings.
Back in the days when I used to teach fiction writing, beginning students would ask about finding ideas for stories. Others would complain of writer’s block and say their minds went blank whenever they sat down to write. One sure-fire way I found of easing blocked writers back into the writing habit, was to give them photos or objects and ask them to write about what they saw.
If I was doing this exercise with the above photo, I’d write about:
Look at the little tower standing before the bigger one. Was it a lookout tower? A prison block? An armoury or the servants quarters? And what about the bigger, squat, windowless tower in front of that. What went on there? My imagination could provide answers to these questions and from those answers a story would emerge.
I love the fact that you can see a person in the picture, which gives some idea of the scale and size of the towers. It’s a manageable castle, a family fortress, and the generations who defended it against marauders are already coming to life in various story ideas. I might place it close to the border between two warring kingdoms as the lone defence in a bleak and bloody fight for control and supremacy.
Alternatively, I might take the reflection as the starting point for my story. The perfection of the reflection speaks to me of alternative worlds. The gateway to this one would, naturally, be beneath the surface of the moat. Tantalisingly visible from both above and below the water, the intangible membrane between the two worlds beckons to the inhabitants of both. Oh, the possibilities.
What story ideas does the photo give you? If you’re looking for something to write or you need to get going again after a dry spell, meditate on this picture for a while and listen to the suggestions your imagination makes.
I’ve since discovered that this is Blarney Castle. Visit the official site here.