Looking for Sparks

When I write, I like to have a few concrete images to provide “spark” for what I am trying to convey. Sometimes, these sparks help me to notice details that I wouldn’t have necessarily written. For example, in The Roaring Redwoods, the RiverWood Lodge and Casino is based on a local place called the Brookdale Lodge. I’m using the original version- not the one that exists now (and is sadly closed).

But I am keeping the wishing well which is a detail I doubt I would have thought of if I hadn’t prowled around the Brookdale Lodge looking for “sparks”.

Other times, the spark helps clarify what I had been imagining. So when I found the image of the Redwood Inn (Boulder Creek Insider), it helped me “see” Charlotte’s Cafe. It even helped with a bit of the storyline for a yet-to-be-published episode.

And there yet other times when I know something is missing and I have no idea what it is but I just keep watching, listening, exploring until it appears.  Or I notice.

This happened in one of my novels (yet to be released). I was missing a certain sometin’-sometin’ and then we stopped at this ridiculous barbecue place in Groveland, California. And the proprietress was the exact character I needed and I was good to go.

What sparks for you?