When starting to think about about my novel it wasn’t a person, an event, or a particular storyline that came to mind, but rather a place. Bono, the lead singer of the band U2 once said, “the only limits are the limits of your imagination, dream up the kind of world you want to live in, dream out loud, at high volume.” Whilst I’m not sure that the world I have created in my novel is exactly at “high volume”, it most definitely is the kind of world that I would like to live in. As I come back to it, day after day, to sketch out characters and places, and to tell my story, I do so with excitement and joy, and an overarching feeling that I am coming home.
Where did I start? With what I love! As you have probably realised, I have a passion for crafts, and in particular knitting. It is therefore absolutely essential that there be a wool shop at the heart of my fictional world. Drawing from images on Pinterest, memories from various wool shops I have visited over the years, and things I would long to see but have yet to experience, I was able to sketch out “Butterworth’s Wool Shop”. When I gave it to my friend to read, she replied, ‘I want to go there!’ This reaction was just what I was looking for, because, quite frankly, so do I!
Using this method, I have bit by bit been able to sketch together a picture of an idyllic, but not utopian, village in England, that is a symbiosis between everything I like about the past and present, coupled with what I imagine would be great to see in the future. Why not? It’s my world! It’s a place I long for, and love to return to, and one day, when I finish it, I hope you will too!
Being the extremely visual person that I am, I have also found it useful to draw a map of the village. It is A2 in size, and is tacked to my wall so I can constantly refer to it as I write. I went through a number of drafts to get there, and tried a combination of software and freehand, and finally opted for this hand-drawn, and coloured-in image. It was amazing how it just started to take shape and now I couldn’t imagine the village looking any different.
What kind of world would you want to live in?
What kind of place would it bring you the most amount of joy / excitement / interest to see in your virtual world?
If you could live in one of the following places where would it be:
– A magical kingdom?
– A desert island?
– A busy city?
– On a mountain?
Does your character start in this place, end up there, or pass through there on the way somewhere else?
These are some of the questions I have been asking myself as I have worked. My world is not the kind of place that dishes out an endless stream of harsh realities, dotted with toxic characters, and never-ending doom. It is a place of hope, a place of healing, a place in which to kick back in your slippers, sup on a glass of wine, and enjoy life for once. Not realistic enough? It’s not meant to be! It is a place that we can but aspire to go in the limitless expanse of our imagination, to take refuge from what life flings at us. The only limits are the limits of our imagination. Where does your’s take you?