My newly decorated writer’s space

Since I have reduced my teaching hours  this year in order to devote more time to my writing, I figured it was time I had a useful space in which to write other  than the dining table.  With some err….negotiation shall we say, I carved out a corner of my husband’s “man cave”.   Fine.  Not a corner.  Half the room.   Half is fair.

cornerThe centre piece of my corner is a fold out chair, in case I am up late and fall asleep writing and also to serve as a guest bed in case anyone doesn’t mind the chaos of our lives.  A laptop desk has been purchased but not yet assembled.  I made the quilt throw and lace cushion ages ago.  The wolf cushion, a gift for my eldest daughter Freya made by our Rock Star Quilter Gill Young, fits the space nicely and reminds me of my first novel.

A Shakespeare doll I purchased for my youngest daughter Juliet perches over my shoulder.

The jacket slung over the  door is one I made in high school and which became something of a legendary artifact among my teenage friends.   I wanted it in my space to remind me of the audience for which I write.  Beside it is a bag made for me by a friend.  I wanted to have as many hand-made and sentimental objects in my creative space.  The better to channel the creativity.

The painting is a compromise.  My husband loves it.  I hate it.  My back is generally turned to it.

cupboardAcross from my chair is a book shelf topped by an antique medicine cabinet given by my in-laws when they renovated their bathroom.  As with the corner of my space I tried to include as many hand made items as possible here.  On the top of the cabinet is a photograph staged by my eldest daughter, a poseable artist model and sugar paste prairie roses made by my friend Jo.

inside the cabinet, on the first shelf, a ceramic pot made by my mother holds my grandfather’s ashes.  Beside him are copies of my three favourite novels from my own Child/Young Adulthood.  Below that is an old clock, a reminder not to waste my time, a Union Jack/Yankee hybrid flag made for my 40th Birthday cake and a strange Lego thing my daughter keeps putting back in the cupboard each time I try to take it out.  On the bottom shelf is a candle, a clay Totoro whistle made by my childhood friend and fellow Anime fan Jamie Addams, and a heart cushion filled with lavender from my father’s garden to remind me that every story is really a love story.

Snuggled on either side of the cabinet are my writer’s notebooks, post-it notes for organsing plot and two reference books on Folklore.

notesFinally the bookshelf, filled with old games my husband refuses to part with, is covered with images and notes.  There is a very badly sketched map of the fictional town of Burly-the-Wath and the surrounding Burrdale area.  Some photographs, taken by myself or a family member, indicate settings for my novel.  Others are basically costume plots for characters.

Just outside of the room hangs a mirror for modelling gestures, poses and facial expressions.  Beside my chair a blank wall is papered with post-it notes  to keep the various plots, time lines and characters of four different time lines straight.

Now I just need a kettle, mini fridge, mini-bar, hot tub, masseuse…

Fashion resources for Historical Writers

250_l_AC004844I have often boasted of just how blessed I am in my circle of creative friends and family.  When I put out a plaintive plea for assistance with adding detail to my Victorian characters in Floretta Deliverance Hughes, my brilliant costume student cousin Lizzie picked up my  thrown gauntlet with gusto.

78_l_AC09475The Kyoto Costume Institute’s online archive is quickly becoming an addiction for me now.  Almost two hundred years worth of images and historical details available at a click.  It’s the accompanying information that make this such an essential resource for historical writers.  Quick and easy way to get a basic education in fashion, though exclusively focused on women’s styles.

For a slightly more balanced approach, and a site which offers an even broader education into historical fashion, there is the Victoria and Albert museum website.

 

circ.96-1963_cabinet_1000pxIn addition to information and inspiration for character clothing, there are articles on furnishing styles to aid in descriptions of the rooms your characters sit in whilst wearing their fabulous frocks.  Bigger picture articles such as the one on Gothic Revival explore architecture as well.

These images here have given me some much needed inspiration.