I also blog about inspiration over at Book View Cafe. Feel free to comment either here or over there!

Between now and the end of February, I have six short story assignments rolling in, for a workshop that I’m taking.

I’ve written two short stories, each about 5000 words, in the last few days. I have one more to write. Then I’m traveling to New Zealand, and I won’t be writing (or blogging!) for a few weeks.

Last weekend I escaped to Canada with my sweetie, up to Victoria. We took the clipper from Seattle and got into Victoria about 10:30 AM.


It was a gray, misty weekend, but we didn’t mind. We walked everywhere, through the old neighborhoods up Government street, around the park, then down into town again.

There are so many old buildings that weren’t destroyed, so many that have been restored. Both of us are interested in architecture, and had a wonderful time browsing, as it were.


Victoria’s Chinatown is the second largest in North America, I believe. There are quite a few of the old, 1890s buildings still standing.

While we were there, I picked up a marvelous book about Victoria’s Chinatown–and have been using it extensively as research for the second story.


So how did I get inspired by this place?

A big part of it was the closed in sense of the place. While the streets were wide, the spaces between them were tight–lots of twisting alleys between the buildings.

Closed in spaced means places to hide. And places to be trapped in.

I spent about a day traipsing through the internet, as well as reading my research books, trying to pinpoint a day in time (1890) and a reason for the main character to be in Victoria (Tong wars.)


I also spent a lot of time looking at the pictures of these buildings, both modern day as well as the few photos from the 1890s. While I was writing, I kept going back to the pictures, imagining how the landscape affected my main character. Could he get to that building from there? What streets did he have to cross? How many wide boardwalks?

The story was very inspired by these pictures, but also, informed by it.

What places have inspired you recently?

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