Will a Change of Venue Help Writer’s Block?


Well, it’s not exactly writer’s block … sort of. In 2015, my cousin and I took a trip to Scotland to follow some family ancestry as well as for me to do some research for the fifth book in my series, “Partners, Heart of the Phoenix”. For my main character, AJ Donovan, it took years to find the Scots-Irish father he thought had abandoned him. Now a father himself for the first time, he and his wife, Quin, chose to take a trip to Scotland where Ethan Donovan and his family currently lived. AJ was excited to meet his many half siblings and introduce his son, Reilly to his grandparents.

Ethan’s landscaping business had made him quite wealthy and that wealth bought him enemies. Unfortunately, some of his enemies were within his own family. He had to determine which of his children were embezzling funds from the family business. AJ’s siblings welcomed him warmly … except one. This brother perceived AJ as a threat to his inheritance – to the point he was willing to eliminate him.

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At the RWA conference last year I roomed with a friend who was retired military and had spent much of her life in Scotland and Ireland. She pointed out several flaws in Irish-Scottish relationships that made the background for my story somewhat implausible. Changing those details would require changing background facts going back to Book I. So, I pushed the book aside and went on to other things. Not a good way to enhance a successful writing career.

So, one of the annual writing conferences I attend is “20 Books to 50K”, the focus of which is indie authors supporting indie authors. They are in Vegas every year but have also been doing conferences in Europe. This year, in July, it will be in Scotland. I was immediately interested. It’s time to go back and seek my muse. I need to work through the story issues and come back with the ideas I need to fix them. Not to mention that Edinburgh, Scotland is one of my favorite places in the world.

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I’m curious if other writers find new energy when doing research in countries where your story takes place. Do exposure and new facts make you more zealous to get back to your story?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Vicki says:

    I’ve based a couple of stories on places I’ve visited, or mentioned something about others, but not delve as deeply as you have into police procedure. I so want to visit Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. snowmedic1111 says:

      I wish we could all go as a group!


  2. Kathryn Jane says:

    For years I’ve been longing to visit Scotland and explore my family heritage. I’m hoping it will stir up my muse too! I’m currently looking into a writer’s event in June of 2020.
    Usually when writing about places I’ve never been I find myself touring them by using google street view. Then I get enamoured and want to visit too! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. snowmedic1111 says:

      It was one of the best experiences I had when I went last time. It’s one thing to find people on Ancestry, but to touch the same walls they did in the 12th century adds a whole new dimension!


  3. I visit places I write about all the time. We make trips places that I think I want to set my books. Having said that, we don’t plan to go to Scotland or Ireland any time soon, but I don’t write books that need that kind of setting. I really struggled with the 3rd book in my Second Chances Series because it was set in Dallas, a place I know, but not like Fort Worth or even my New England settings. In Wichita Falls, Texas, the setting for the last book in the series, we have family members and have visited several times in conjunction with the book. In August, we’re making a trip to Red River, New Mexico, a place we’ve frequently visited, because I think the book after the series is over, will be set there. I’m all about the location and from that comes my stories. I’m excited for you going over the water. And like Kathryn, I use maps and Google to help, too. But nothing beats going there. 🙂 I’ve shared.:)


  4. snowmedic1111 says:

    Thanks, Marsha. Love your thoughts on this. Scotland felt like home the minute we landed. I also have ancestors in Ireland and England. It’s also great when it’s tax deductible!


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