For the aspiring writer or designer inspiration lurks everywhere.
For example, one of the notable features of The Lonely Coast—the Orestone—is based on a mix of real-life islets lying just off the coast of Torquay (where I live).
To remind you, here is an extract of the Orestone’s description from The Lonely Coast:
The Orestone is a forlorn, windswept and wave-lashed chunk of bare rock jutting out of the sea roughly 500 feet from shore. Cliffs encompass three of its sides with the fourth comprising a series of spray-drenched rock shelves rising out of the surrounding, treacherous waters.
Many vessels have come to grief on the Orestone; their wrecks litter the surrounding sea floor. When a ship strikes the Orestone, every boat-owning peasant descends on the location to both assist the unfortunate mariners and to recover as much salvage as possible before the Locher’s agents arrive to claim the wreck.
In the Real World
I took inspiration from two islets off the coast of Torquay: Thatcher Rock and the Orestone. Part of the reason I find both so intriguing is that I see them virtually every day, but can’t actually visit them (and, of course, now visiting them would spoil the fun of imagining what would lurk on or under both islands).
Thatcher Rock is located 300 yards from the shore on Meadfoot Beach. The rock is 43 metres high. On the rock there is a beach, but the beach is 25 ft above today’s sea level. I've always been intrigued by the rock formations on the island. Take a look at these pictures to see what I mean--and particularly note the various formations on the island's “spine".
The Ore Stone is variously described as a small island or rock. Either way, it’s got a cool name, which is pretty much all I took from the place. I like the name because it immediately poses questions. For example, what kind of ore does the name refer to? Has anyone mined it? If they have, is there an old, part-flooded mine of unknown origin in and under the island?
And just like that, the seed of an adventure smacks you in the face.
Remember, Inspiration is Everywhere
Inspiration can sneak attack you literally anywhere. This is one of the main reasons I carry a pocket notebook with me almost everywhere I go. In it, along with my normal monthly plotting and planning, I note down interesting turns of phrase, place names, sketch maps and so on. Sometimes, before Covid, I’d sit in a coffee shop scribbling down descriptions of people walking passed for use as NPCs. Once I’m done, I transfer my notes to a larger more permanent book which lurks at Global HQ. In this way, I build up a bank of “free” ideas I can call on in times of need.
Why work hard, when inspiration is everywhere?