I took a play writing class a few years ago and before starting a project we needed to make a source book. This was a portfolio or document where we collected text, images, music, and anything else that was a source of inspiration or research for our intended projects.
This was invaluable at tough moments in the writing and rehearsing process. I've decided to adopt this technique for my fiction writing as well. Over the Thanksgiving break from school I began working on an old idea, but with a fresh perspective. The idea is for a piece set in Ireland during the age of mythic battles and warriors. I have several early Anglo-Saxon poems that I want to use as a source. I especially want to explore the emotional life of the women that are effected by these battles.
It's not a history piece exactly, because so much of the history from this age is just story telling with fantastical elements. It's not a grounded moment of historical fact, but a progression of human experiences. I had shelved the project a few years ago because I really had no idea where to even begin. That can often be the hardest thing for me as a writer-- I always have ideas, it's finding a way into them, a starting point that is the challenge.
Still, I'm feeling positive about this. I'm creating my source book. This has been in the back of my mind for about two and a half years, I finally think I'm ready to start working on it.
It's funny. When I finally have my mini break-down and decide not to write for anything but my own pleasure, ideas rush to me. A stopper is released and everything can flow again. I know this project will take a lot of time an research, but I'm excited about it. I think it will be good. I don't usually say that about my writing.