for writers and readers….
This photograph stopped me in my tracks. There’s something delicious about the colours and the lines of the uniform.
Out of context the men might be taken for actors or even a troupe of clowns and, indeed, the Swiss Guards were once purely decorative. Now they are armed with working weapons, ancient and modern, and are trained in unarmed combat. While they still play a ceremonial rule, they are also the Pope’s bodyguard.
I’ve never written fantasy, but it’s never too late to thread new territory and this photograph tempts me. I’m also reminded that Margaret Atwood says that every element of The Handmaid’s Tale was played out in real life somewhere in the world at some time.
So, perhaps you could take the idea of contrast, of things being not quite as they seem, and turn it into something powerful: executioners dressed as angels or librarians secretly in control of world banks. (Just a suggestion, hopefully helpful if nothing occurs to you at this moment when you have time to write.) Otherwise always go with the idea that leaps at you.
I’m new to fantasy writing myself, but I suggest looking at the picture and writing continuously for five minutes. An oven timer is useful here. There’s probably a stop watch on your phone, but I’ve never been able to find it. When I say continuously I mean that you can’t stop to think. It’s word after word after word even if it doesn’t make sense. The sentences don’t even have to connect.
When the alarm goes off go and do something that needs doing, something physical that doesn’t take up too much space in your mind. So, not a job application or answering an email or watching television, something more like hanging the washing out to dry or mopping the kitchen floor.
Finish you task and read back what you wrote earlier. Pick out a couple of words or phrases and work with them for 10 minutes. Give yourself permission to create something strange, odd. See where it takes you…
A quarter of an hour writing time AND a household chore done – no one could accuse you of wasting time!
Photo credit: https://anastpaul.tumblr.com