Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I've written about inspiration before and where you can find it, but now I have something else: Books.

OK, that sounds obvious, but what kind of books? you ask. This one, 'B**llocks to Alton Towers'.

The profanity aside, this is a seriously entertaining book about typical British days out, the kind that don't involve being thrown around at 120 miles an hour held on to a piece of metal by some rigid plastic. Nor do they involve waiting in a queue in the rain for half an hour before you can get on said ride.

Most of them are unusual and, sadly, rarely visited, but give an insight into British life that is only glimpsed in passing and not known anywhere else in the world...unless the Brits colonised the place.

There's the lawnmower museum in Southport above a hardware store and a diesel train ride in Scotland that ends up at the Glenfiddich brewery. The diesel trains are 1970s BR stock complete with stickers, but the service is far better. Not that that was a particularly high mark to improve upon.

Then there are the sea battles between toy destroyers and battleships of the 20th century in Scarborough where grown men, in age if not in mind, shoot rockets at each other three times a week.

So what has this got to do with inspiration? Background characters. People that you only see once or twice, or who hold the secret key. With the information here, you can build hobbies and interests into your world that will make it seem more real.

Of course, this isn't the only book available. There are many others that can be found in the travel section of a book shop, often at knock down prices if you buy those that are a few years out of date. What they have are characters that will fill your world and your writing with personality, style and supreme oddness. In short, they'll make it real.

Have a hunt around and get inspired.


Anonymous said...

Great post Martin - I know what you mean - there must be a wealth of wonderful characters in that book with crazy hobbies. How exciting!

DRC said...

I'm not one for fairground rides...or lawnmower museums, come to think of it...but I do love visiting old places and ruins. The national trust is great. I love British history, and more often than not I get inspiration from that.

As, just because it made me laugh, your verification word today is Foscar. Could this be a new fairground attraction?? lol...

Martin Willoughby said...

Freya: I've always believed that inspiration is all around us if only we took the time to look.

DRC: You'd better not come to Stevenage for a day or two then as the charter fair is on.

Holly said...

This sounds like my kind of guidebook, and since it comes highly recommended by you I will check it out on Amazon. I enjoy things not commonly found along the beaten path - which I'm sure comes as a huge surprise.

Martin Willoughby said...

Holly: Just remember it's about holidays in Britain, and no, I'm not surprised. :)