Paris Immersion – Discoveries in Unexpected Places

Writers have to be flexible. We must conjure up creativity in the strangest and most difficult conditions.  I’ve taught myself to write in the dark, on my phone, in notebooks, on table serviettes and drink coasters, pretty much anywhere.

To be in Paris, in the world I’m writing about is harrowing at times, but it’s such an inspiring and rich experience. It allows me to add a whole new layer of meaning and texture to my story.

And over the last twenty-four hours I’ve been writing … a lot. In fact I’m up to around 12,000 words in my new draft. I’m deep in my story, living each day in my character’s world … Paris 1942.

Equipment for eating snails … don’t think that’s going to happen

Paris today is not so different … and everywhere there are reminders of where I am, of what used to be and what is now.

In truth, (due in part to my poor grasp of any language other than English) some of my research experiences have not yet yielded the information I need.

Shelves full of French books that I can’t read … means I get more writing done

But I’ve found alternatives in unlikely places.

Seeing the cellars beneath the mosque is one goal that hasn’t yet come to fruition. But when I was putting out the recycling the other day, I discovered a cellar underneath my very own building. One with steps carved into stone, with huge old wooden doors leading who knows where.

Of course I bought a torch and went exploring. I can’t tell you what I found because that’s in my book, but this cellar was exactly the place I was looking for.

For me, writing isn’t just about today’s story or yesterday’s story, it’s about tomorrow’s story as well. I’m always gathering information that could be useful in works to come … stories I might not even have thought of yet. 

So wherever I am, I’m gathering sights, smells, sounds and emotions to add to my scrapbook of experiences.

Have you ever found an important piece of research in an unexpected place?

I’d love you to share your experience here.

Happy writing 🙂

Dee

This project is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria 

 

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12 thoughts on “Paris Immersion – Discoveries in Unexpected Places

  1. I can definitely relate to this! -> “writing isn’t just about today’s story or yesterday’s story, it’s about tomorrow’s story … gathering information that could be useful in works to come … stories I might not even have thought of yet.” One of those stories I hadn’t even thought of has made its presence felt this past week, Dee, sending me down my own research trail, and drawing on my recent holiday experience…

  2. I think, like you, it’s been the unexpected places / discoveries that have then led to more research vis a vis, more questions. 🙂

  3. So wonderful to hear this, Kat,

    I know that you were planning to write about your recent holiday experience. So great that you are moving towards it. Can’t wait to catch up with you soon and hear all about it 🙂

  4. How awesome. Those steps and that cellar. I’m sure three people could take that image and come up with three different stories. Can’t wait to see how you wrote it. I once sat in the middle of our lanai in Honolulu and wrote all the sounds I could hear. I have a whole page of them. I then wrote all the things I could see from that one spot, as if I were sighted, but dear. I did a whole series of short things on what I experienced with my different senses. Sounds like you are doing something similar there in Paris.

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