The devious nature of the common or garden Lepus Insidiae. Or plot bunny, to you and me.
I would imagine that almost all of us are familiar with these little critters. We'll be walking the dog or washing up and listening to the radio. Maybe watching TV or flicking through a magazine then BAM - everything stops as part of our brains go into high gear. "That's interesting," the internal monologue begins. "Oh, that's VERY interesting. Oh, I wonder - and if that happened too - oooh!" And there you are committed to another story and another set of noisy demanding characters who feel they should be written about NOW rather than when convenient.
Yes, the plot bunny hops and moves on, uncaring about the havoc he leaves in his wake. Sometimes he hops three or four times a week, sometimes it will be a few months until I realise he has been, leaving a trail of nibbled lettuce and faintly steaming droppings behind him, as an idea I wasn't aware I was having roars to life and demands to be attended to. Some of the ideas are pants, frankly, and best forgotten, but some stick, some are so tenacious that they hang around in the queue for years. I can minimise the visits but concentrating only on boring stuff - I rarely get a plot bunny while cooking for instance - but part of my job, and a lovely part, breeds plot bunnies like billy-oh!
I'm lucky enough to work in a small local museum. We don't have any of the fabulous "Wow-factor" pieces that one would find in the British Museum or the V&A, but that's good. Big museums have departments and workers rarely see anything other than what they are designated to work on. Here, because a lot of the time there's just two of us and we do a bit of everything, I get to handle things, see things, hear about things that are lush with writerly possibilities.
If I turn my head I can see an 'onion' bottle that may have once held rum. There's a piece of very battered Samian ware holding down my notes for a guidebook. There's a small red leather box on the table containing a facsimile VC. All I have to do is ask myself a few questions.
The brown bess musket with the 1811 armoury stamp. What made the suspiciously dark stain on the butt of it?
Those man sized gloves in white kid, the right hand somewhat worn at the fingertips. Did they get that way from caressing a stubbly jaw?
The theatre programme showing a man staring up at the portrait of another man. Why is he doing that when the notes for the production state that he's in love with the lady whose portrait is on the other side of the stairs?
The Bronze Age assemblage of grave goods - spear point, broken sword, razor, shield boss and one perfect amber bead. Did he die in battle or at the end of a long fulfilling life?
The local newspaper advertisement for a new life in Canada. How many young men jumped at the chance to start anew away from prying eyes?
The two 15th century gold poesy rings of very similar design, badly inscribed in mispelled French "tou mon cur", found a few paces apart. Were they never handed over to the lovers? Were they discarded by one on receiving the news of the other's death?
Eeep - I think it's happened again. Time to research the Cousins War, I think.
Just in case anyone fancies some inspiration here are some links to pictures of items taken from the 2005/2006 Treasure Report provided by the Portable antiquities scheme. I can read that book for HOURS!
<< A roman arm purse found with 2 coins from the reign of Domitian. Tadcaster.
<< Saxon ring brooch set with one garnet. Essex.
<< Pendant in the shape of Thor's hammer. Probably Danish. Norfolk
<< Ornate strap terminal found in a field with a large bold R forming part of the decoration. Aldingbourne, West Sussex.
<< The scraps and clippings of silver used by a 17th century forger. South Yorkshire.
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and has been making stuff up since 1958. Writing has always had to take second place to work and family but now the kids are grown up it's possible she might finish one of the many novels on her hard drive and actually DO something useful with it.
Historical subjects predominate but there are also contemporary and historical paranormals, science fiction, crime and a Western. Heroes tend to be hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow.
Her first published stories appeared in British Flash and Tea and Crumpet. Elin still can't quite believe it.
From Clare: Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Fancy writing something for the visitors this month? It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll post it all then :).
FOLLOW the Birthday Blog so far:
Jan 01: luscious_words shares some fabulous icons.
Jan 02: Jordan Castillo Price shares her experience of re-releasing books.
Jan 03: Mara Ismine wonders how important is continuity in fiction?
Jan 04: Jen shares her favourite Rom Com movies.
Jan 05: Karenna Colcroft introduces her unusual werewolf.
Jan 06: Stevie Carroll takes us on a pictorial tour of her favourite locations.
Jan 07: Tinnean quotes Jack Benny on age.
Jan 07: Josie makes a brave leap into a scary sport.
Check up on:
Prior years fun HERE and
The 2012 Guest schedule HERE.
Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥
NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.