In college, I once had an Art History T.A. explain to us that, “not everything happens in a vacuum. Everything is caused by something else.” I remember thinking, well duh! Isn’t that sort of common sense? But till this day I’m constantly thinking of her lecture on the spread of Buddhism and it has helped me become a better writer and here’s why:
My favorite part of working on my novel is making connections to Art History. I believe it’s crucial for me to do this because my two main characters of the story are very much inspired by writers, artists, films, and popular music. In order to make them “believable” characters, I have to make sure they convince the reader that they are truly cultured, young individuals. Especially Ryann Bell, who has traveled to Europe at 19 and has seen so much more than the average 23-year-old.
In Chapter 9 “A Suburban Crisis” (chapter and title may change), Ryann talks about her loss of emotion and moral being due to shock and a sudden life changing experience. She describes herself as “a Bride Stripped Bare of Her Bachelors”. Many art lovers would know her description of herself is a reference to a famous Futurism glass piece by French artist Marcel Duchamp. The true title is Bride Stripped Bare of Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass). I won’t get into the process of the piece or the history of it, but there is several different interpretations of this famous artwork.
I haven’t checked if it has been moved lately, but I do know that the glass piece was displayed at the Tate Modern museum in London. The museum is most likely a place where Ryann Bell would have visited during her stay in London. So it’s no surprise, being a girl who is stuck in the past, would reflect upon something she had seen at the Tate and would later compare herself to it.
I won’t say why she makes this comparison (because that would spoil all the surprises), but my point is that in order to make a character come to life, it’s very important to tap into their lifestyle and keep in mind the things that would inspire them, motivate them, drive them, shape them, and so on.
If you’re a writer, do you have any tips or creative processes that help you write better?