I had a very powerful lesson in the depths of character over Christmas, and it all came about from my childhood days.
A couple of writing issues were bothering me, so I forced myself to suffer the trial of a trip to the pub to think about them.
It made me wonder why a pub is the place I usually head for when I need inspiration, and the subtle lighting, rumbling conversation, and Christmas decorations brought a fast and vivid answer.
I was actually born in a pub, and some of my happiest memories are those wonderful festive days at the Bedford Arms Inn, with presents, food and drink, and good cheer.
Quite a few family came round for the day itself, and the kids all opened their gifts in the Lounge Bar, watched by parents sporting glasses of sherry etc.
The smells, the sounds, the feelings, they must have all seeped in to my early, developing mind, to plant the feeling that a pub was a place of contentment. And that peacefulness of spirit sure helps the creative mind to work.
You see it so often in writing, that a character is driven in a certain way because of their childhood experiences.
Some say it happens too much. But what do we expect when writing is there to reflect the real world?
And did it work, my trip for inspiration?
Yes, it did. It always has and I hope it always does.
It's one of the art's most well-trodden paths, and for good reason.
As a writer, you can do a lot worse than find your answers in a pub.