We were waiting in line at a busy cinema, and my friend was concerned Hollywood was scraping the barrel of available stories with yet another remake. This was a long time ago, back when I was new to writing, and crowded cinemas weren’t a public health concern. As an emerging writer, the idea that there might be a limit on the number of stories waiting to be told should have terrified me, but even then I knew instinctively—stories are infinite.
It’s every writer’s dream to create engaging stories that readers will love. But perhaps it’s more important that we’re fanning the flames of creativity in others. Because when you write a story, you’re not taking from a limited supply—you’re adding to the collective well of creativity.
I opened my diary the other day — for the first time in eight months — and was confronted by a wall of blank pages. From 20 March onwards, pages usually full (and I mean full) of my daily antics fell away into 80GSM oblivion.
Did I miss the forecast? Cloudy with a chance of Coronavirus?
I’m not a meteorologist or a virologist, but I theorise there are silver linings to be found.
Then I came across this: My New Year’s Resolution is to make time for writing.
That was it. No grand ambitions of awards or publishers or six-figure advances. (Of course, a book deal is the “holy grail”). Somehow, I knew 2020 was not a year to shoot for the stars.
Many authors find ideas by looking to the past. Fictionalising a historical event, person or a period in time allows a writer to draw on reality as a starting point, then use their imagination to create an original story.
After reading about the history of the Bustard Head Lighthouse on the central coast of Queensland, I decided to write a short story set at a fictionalised version of that lighthouse in 1887. But once I had an idea of the story I wanted to write – a historical mystery – I began to worry about accuracy and believability. How did people behave in 1887? How did they live? I didn’t know.
Thankfully, I’m a nerd for research. Which brings me to my first tip.
Take a bunch of writers from different genres, many who have never met before, and put them on the same table at a fancy dress dinner and see what happens.
For one group of writers, who met at GenreCon in 2019, it resulted in a multi-genre anthology entitled Lighthouse – a collection of fifteen short stories all featuring lighthouses.
Why lighthouses? To get the answer to this, and a bunch of other questions about this project, Lorikeet Ink caught up with two of the Lighthouse’s contributing authors – Anthology Organiser, Chris Foley and Anthology Editor, Bianca Millroy.