This post is dedicated to missbluereader, who left lovely, encouraging words on my book, The City Is Silent, and was wondering where I found the inspiration from. And the truth is, although I can’t pinpoint every aspect of the novel itself, I have a general idea of where it started.
But I should probably mention that inspiration is just a starting point: it’s through the essence of hard work and dedication which actually gets the novel and less-than-ideal scenes written. You cannot have a complete novel relying on inspiration alone; yet, most authors have sources of them. And for The City Is Silent, here are mine.
The beginning of it all…
It all started with this song. Song for Viola by Peter Bradley Adams, an instrumental melody I came across while clicking through a story on Wattpad. Once I listened to it, I couldn’t stop. The tone was flawless, the violin a perfect non-screeching sound, and the music speaking to me. I imagined a world; many worlds narrated by the same instrumental, but a single picture stuck in my mind.
I tried to draw it once in a sketchbook, to try and get a physical aspect of the drawing itself, but it never turned out that great. So I’ll try and describe it to you:
A brunette girl sits on the middle cushion of a three-seated sofa. She is geared up in a soccer uniform with her team’s colours. Her mouth is curved downwards. On either side of her are dotted lines outlining two people –or, rather, the ghosts of whatever is left. A woman on her right; a man on her left. Their face opposite directions. In the background, a tall, wooden grandfather clock stands. Tick, tock.
A software which allowed me to visualise…
Writer’s Cafe was my ultimate go-to software. Using the “story board function,” I began writing an outline which ended up 40 pages long, detailed and emphasising every moment. Yet, I did not follow it word-for-word. And because of this, The City Is Silent was the first novel I’ve ever written which turned out better than I expected (don’t get me wrong; it needs a heavy rewrite) but my expectations of the single first draft, that wasn’t quite high in the first pace, were exceeded.
I recommend Writer’s Cafe for anybody who wants to outline. No matter how much of a literary genius you take yourself to be, an outline is a must. How you do it is completely up to you; software, computers, paper, diagrams, etc.
Peering into the world around me…
Did you know that depression is a common condition among pre-teens? The only difference is, depression at a young age is dismissed as “a phase” rather than controlled. It saddened me when I read upon the subject. That’s when I realised what kind of person Grace was; a twelve-year-old girl with many ambitions and full of energy, but lost it in a single instant.
And it became a story of healing from a trauma –especially when she faces the consequences everyday. Her mother is paralysed, her father is completely changed, and the brother their family disowned is the only source of comfort left, but he can’t forgive Grace for her betrayal. The story began with the title “Hush, Little Baby, Don’t Say A Word” but I knew it wouldn’t be the final. Just a working title.
Finding a sentence which changed it all…
The funny thing is, I found the title in one of the most disliked books I’ve ever read. But the descriptions, despite the cheesy plot-line and one-dimensional characters, were amazing. One particular sentence stuck in my mind, as the writer described the isolation surrounding the main characters, using descriptions around him to capture the moment. The City Is Silent, is what he described it as.
And right there, I knew what I would call this novel of mine –The City Is Silent. It conveys the same meaning as Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say A Word, but in a less repetitive, more personified way. Also, it sounds more darker than a simple children’s lullaby.
Of course, the actual writing of the novel veered off further than my initial inspiration. I began listening to other songs which helped with he writing process itself (especially Through the Dark by Helen Jane Long) and researching paralysis. Of course, I definitely have to rewrite some parts as I found were too simply solved, and not thoroughly written. But the initial inspiration remains as the light which lit a dark tunnel and allowed me to walk. So, of course, I will never forget it.
To finish off, here is a beautiful typography poster made by wistyria. Thank you!