An Old Painting As A Writing Prompt?

Surfing the internet isn’t always a waste of time. I was looking for something when I ran across the image of an old painting, namely ‘Gothic Church Ruins’, painted by Carl Blechen in 1826. (And yes, I’m permitted to use the picture for free without copyright problems, since the copyright has been ‘outdated’). However, that’s not the question at this moment.

Earlier this year, namely in March, when I was in the hospital for several days I drafted the outlines and main characters for three new books, which surprised me very much. (Apparently being in the hospital gave me an unexpected creativity boost) I have continued working on my books, but I only have limited time. And then, after I saw this old painting, I got lost in my fantasies.

Immediately I had visions of beautiful spiritual creatures and forms living in and around these, once handmade, structures, that are now claimed back by nature. Of course, fantasies alone don’t make for a story yet, but in many ways, Carl Blechen’s work has given me an amazing input to mine.

Now, when it comes to ‘Writing Prompt’… what is the meaning of it? Yes, I think, most of us know what it means… it’s generally of help to us, when our writer’s brain goes blank (which very rarely happens), but that’s another story…

According to the ‘Freelance Writing-Love-to-know’ website, a writing prompt is ‘usually a statement followed by questions you can use to craft a piece.’ Simple, and to the point.

Would I need a writing prompt to develop and have ideas? Usually, I don’t. But then, I’m a writer… some input is good for me. I’m sometimes afraid, I keep on writing within the same ‘drawer’ and am completely untalented for other pieces of work. That’s one of the reasons, why I decided to ‘break away’ from ‘The Concil of Twelve’ series for a few pieces, to see, if I can write different stories.

That particular picture gave me another idea. We are now talking about staying faithful to the genre, but still, writing outside of my series. I’m not sure yet, how that story is going to be, and in what direction it’s headed. But I’m sure, with time, we are going to find out.

Picture courtesy of Carl Blechen (1798 – 1840)

How do you try to find inspiration, when you’re running dry of ideas? Do you use writing prompts? If yes, where do you find them? Let us know in the comments, we’re curious!

Fashion For Characters I

For some time now I realize that very often the book cover varies significantly from the story of a book. Quite pronounced it shows in the genre ‘Historical Romance.’

Now, don’t get me wrong! I don’t mind that much! Unless of course, the story tells us of a golden-haired beauty and the cover shows a black-haired gypsy woman I often don’t care.

I’m not complaining about anything within the book! Very often Historical Romance tells us a story of two loving people in the medieval times, being pushed into an arranged marriage by society and their families and falling in love for the first time.  Blessings to them! Falling in love is an exquisite feeling and should be enjoyed.

Let’s see: When I researched for this blog post, I have seen the U.S. covers of some of Virginia Henley’s older books and liked them a lot. By continuing the research, I discovered the German book covers of Virginia Henley’s books and laughed loudly.

Oh – no! Not what you think! I love them. They’re beautiful, they’re artistic, they’re intriguing, and they’re sexy. Just what I’d been expecting of the story. – But they don’t show anything historical in the lady’s dresses as they were around 1300 when the stories are supposed to take place.

Within the story, Virginia Henley talked about wide, flowing robes, made of light and beautiful fabric, unique and sexy, showing the women’s ‘ripe breasts’ and feminine curves.

Let me show you what I’m talking about:

Picture courtesy of http://www.amazon.de

Picture courtesy of: http://www.amazon.de

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now, seeing these wonderful dresses on the cover pictures and carrying these images through reading the romance makes the fun twice as nice. Seeing the beautiful sexy ladies and the strong muscular, handsome men and reading about their eternal love makes for an enjoyable time.

At this point now I have to be fair and add that I don’t ‘blame’ Virginia Henley for anything. She’s a great writer, and I enjoyed reading the few books I have from her.

But I’m afraid, right now I have to ruin our dreams of sexy medieval ladies in wide hot high slit dresses of silk and purest sensuality.

The sad truth is that medieval ladies in their gowns looked more like this:

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I figure every nun dresses sexier than these medieval ladies. But I as well understand that it would be a little, let’s say, ‘difficult’ for a lady to show yourself as being enormously sexy in a dress where the man of your dreams has to peel you out of that very same dress like an onion.

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When it comes to reading a medieval historical romance book, I’m the first one to admit that looking at a book cover like this wouldn’t tickle my ‘need’ to buy that book in the first place, let alone read it.

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Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

On the other hand, seeing a book cover like this below and feeling like reading a steamy historical romance would make me buy it immediately.

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.amazon.de

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Now I’m curious: When it comes to historical romance or historical fiction, what do you think? Are we, as writers, permitted to add a little fantasy, a little imagination and a little cheating when it comes to the fashion – either on the cover or within the story? Or should we be very strict in sticking to facts? Please let us know your opinion in the comments.