A few weeks months ago I went on a whirlwind trip to China, well to Shanghai Disneyland. And whilst I spent a couple of days pretending to be simultaneously a 7 year old girl (I have never outgrown my love of Disney Princesses despite their many flaws) and a fifteen year old boy (how many times can I go on the Tron ride). I was also able to visit Shanghai just before I had to return home.
Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city in the truest sense; the city wears its history in layers. The sounds and the smells are distinct and they will continue to be etched in my memory. Both pretty and stark, Shanghai is an amazing city, where you are likely to hear countless languages and people visiting from all over the world.
One of my favourite parts of Shanghai was taking a night ferry along the Bund, during the voyage I could see vestiges of its colonial past as well as the future. Literally across the waterways from each other, it was a stark contrast and a reminder of how the old can meet the new and co-exist, in a sense.
In my current WIP, I write in a world set in the not so distant future, the neon lights of the newer side of Shanghai were exactly how I imagine my capital cities would look like.
A futuristic city with a touch of noir.
It was awe inspiring and made me want to rush home and continue to build my world. I am always fascinated about how seeing an object or a city can lead into triggering a scene or making my world become a living breathing three-dimensional creation.
Have you ever gone somewhere that has inspired a scene in your book, or a character?
That may not seem like an achievement but two months ago I deleted over 20k and was left with hundreds of words and a story I still wanted to write but knew I had gone in the wrong direction with. I am grateful, I picked it up at the 20k mark and not at the 50k mark, but I will be honest, it took me a while to get back into it. The thought of discarding the story and moving on did cross my mind, but those pesky characters kept popping up and saying hi, reminding me they existed.
So here I am, three months behind schedule, but I think with a better understanding of my story (its still has its plot bumps I’m working through) and my characters.
For the writerly people out there, have you ever had to stop and bin large amount of words because it wasn’t working. Does it get easier when you have more experience?
RIP Stan Lee, because of you I spent many hours devouring every Marvel comic I could get my hands on. I developed an obsession with X Men and X Force – where I fell in love with the love story of Rogue and Gambit, the strength of Domino and the insanity of Deadpool, long before they became movie icons.
One of my most cherished childhood memories is walking to my local comic store with my best friend as we argued who was better Marvel (me) or DC (her) in the comic verse. This was long before comics were mainstream and being a teenage girl who collected comics was definitely not cool.
You taught me it was acceptable to dream up fantastical but flawed characters, and that even villains no matter how dastardly could have a reason for what they did. That the good guys didn’t win all the time but they kept trying.
Thank you for teaching me to dream and inspiring me to write.