Story Hunting in Norway...

By abielphinstone, Apr 16 2015 07:20AM

Sometimes stories happen by accident. For example, I found my main character’s surname (Pecksniff) on a body lotion while shopping in TK Maxx and I figured out the plot for Book 3 after stumbling across an abandoned piano in the woods in Somerset. But sometimes I go out on a specific story-hunting adventure. And this Easter I went to Norway, mainly because:

1. My husband is part Norwegian and his great-great-great grandfather invented the fish finger (yes, true fact)

2. Apparently there are trolls in Norway

My first stop was Bergen, the ‘Gateway to the Fjords of Norway,’ founded by King Olav Kyrre in 1070 (I like to think he would have been pals with Toothless and Hiccup). I did a little bit of city STUFF (stroked a lobster and whizzed down the old Hanseatic wharf) then I headed up into the mountains to explore. Because my stories almost always ‘happen’ to me when I head out of the city and into the wild. And sure enough, after a short funicular ride up the mountain, I found Narnia. No sign of Mr Tumnus but plenty of inspiration for snowy stories – something I’m thinking a lot about for my next series.

In Narnia, I chanced upon trolls, witches, lynx tracks and frozen lakes – all that hidden in the mountains above a city. Proof to me that there is so much more magic lurking behind the curtain of every day life than we realise.

From Bergen, I went to Voss for two day’s skiing – important to get the adrenalin up on a story-hunting trip and I’ve always wanted to write a ski chase into a book! I can just imagine Moll bombing down the mountain with Alfie (Siddy would fall over too much to keep up, I suspect). In Voss, the friends I was travelling with put me in charge of off-piste ski navigation for a day but unfortunately I skied into a dangerous ravine in the first three minutes and I was promptly sacked. Still, I got to experience a face-full of powder (bit of method writing for when a Shadowmask dunks Moll in the snow) and I found some icicles that looked suspiciously like the Soul Splinter…

My last, and perhaps most magical, stop was deep inside the Norwegian fjords – up past Flam in a little village called Aurland. I’d never seen anything like this place. Whole mountains reflected back at me in the water, clouds hanging inside fjords, houses perched precariously on cliff tops and waterfalls gushing down entire mountains. It was absolutely, completely, definitely dragon territory… I hiked past huge boulders of rock strewn in the middle of rivers (no doubt hurled there by giants) and scaled up cliff faces with just a piece of rope (very Dreamsnatchery).

The place was tingling with magic; it was impossible not to imagine characters (feisty children and wild animals) roaming the landscape. I climbed trees, leapt over tumbled walls and star-jumped on top of mountains and I came home positively ARMED with stories…

I’m pretty sure Bella from Twilight had a vampire help her up into the canopy. I CLIMBED UP BY MYSELF. Gotta love writing feisty heroines…

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