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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Be Prepared To Be Amazed: gust post by Carlie Cullen

Be Prepared To Be Amazed

by Carlie M A Cullen

Writers are often asked where they get their inspiration from and every one of us has our own sources.
I write Fantasy. My love affair with this genre began when I was quite young and has continued through the years. It began with stories written by Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm and grew from there. I was the proverbial bookworm as a child and nothing has really changed.

I was inspired by the wonderful worlds created by the books I read and began composing my own short stories and fairy tales before my age reached double figures. That inspiration has stayed with me, but these days I find inspiration in a number of different ways.

People watching can provide a rich source for creativity. Whether you’re on a bus or plane, sitting in a café, shopping or just walking down the street, there are some amazing characters around that you can incorporate into your writing. It might be the way someone walks, the way they dress, their mannerisms or even their turn of phrase. Sometimes a line from a song can trigger inspiration as well as films, novels (of course), conversations and new places.

Going somewhere new will usually prove a source of inspiration, but where you go can have a dramatic effect on you. This can best be demonstrated by a short mid-week break I took back in September to Dublin. Apart from being a fantastic city to visit, with lovely friendly inhabitants, not to mention the rich literary heritage, the folklore of the country is fascinating.

Everyone has heard of leprechauns and they are synonymous with the Irish. They are portrayed as little men dressed in green, carrying a wonky walking stick and hiding their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. On my trip I decided to find out a little more about them and visited the National Leprechaun Museum. What an ear-opener.

There was a great deal more to the museum than just leprechauns; during the visit, a guide told the tourists other tales about the Sidhe (pronounced Shee), the fairies of the land. A large map - showing the country and some of the ancient place names - was used to tie together tales of adventure, great battles and betrayals. It was a veritable smorgasbord of inspiration. I even bought a book about the Sidhe from the gift shop.

I have so many story ideas from this four day trip it will keep me going for a good couple of years!
Inspiration can come in so many guises and usually when you least expect it, so be prepared to be amazed wherever you go.

Carlie M A Cullen:

Carlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing. She has been an administrator and marketer all her working life and is also a professional teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing. Carlie has always written in some form or another, but Heart Search: Lost is her first novel.Carlie currently lives in an Essex village with her daughter.

Check out Carlie's blog HERE


As always, please visit my website, www.TheNeverChronicles.com for updates on my upcoming YA fantasy novel, Exiled.  Writing contests, videos and other cool stuff can also be found.


  1. Hi Carrie,
    I agree that people watching is great for inspiration, but for me, it sometimes points out that I am very bad at describing faces. I sat at lunch today and tried to write the face of a young woman I was looking at and just kept getting stuck! I need to stay general for now I guess, keep working at it, and someday I may be able to show my readers (all three of them) the faces I see in my mind. Of course that wouldn't allow those readers to invent their own faces for the characters...details can be sketchy things I guess.

  2. Hi Stonemason,
    Thanks for taking the time to read my article! I have a couple of suggestions for you which may help in your quest to describe faces:

    Start with a list - a very general list. Look at the features one at a time. What shape are the eyes? What colour are they? Are the brows heavy, light or average? Is the forehead wide, narrow, average? Are the cheekbones prominent, high or hidden beneath chubby cheeks? What is the nose like - large, bulbous, pointed, turned up at the end, button, wide, flat, broken? Are the lips full, luscious, thin, lopsided, large lower lip? What is the skin tone like - pale, tanned, peaches & cream? Look at the shape of the chin. If it's a male - has he got a beard/moustache/stubble or is he clean shaven. Look at the hair - colour, length, style.

    Once you've made your basic list then you can start thinking about how to embellish on the features you want to include. Sometimes similes are good, but not if you over-use them. However, thinking about a simile to help describe a certain feature can lead to a wonderful descriptive phrase.

    Take it slowly, perhaps build yourself a table in Word or Excel with a list of different features and any descriptive words that come to mind.

    Anyway, I hope this helps!


  3. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

    I recently put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's a collection of short pieces, mostly dark fantasy.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

    If so, please email me: news@apolitical.info. Let me know what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy.

    You can download a sample from the ebook's page on Smashwords:


    I'm also happy to do interviews, guest posts, or giveaways. Just let me know what you'd prefer.