It occurred to me yesterday when someone I know was talking about the wedding plans of a family member just what great sources of inspiration, material, character observation and family politics weddings and funerals are.
What more could you want to excite your creative juices than to bring together 2 families, a plethora of friends, the old and the young, some alcohol and potentially years of family politics and conflict into one room, light the blue touch paper and BANG! see what happens.
Creative magic that’s what it is, complete creative magic and you, the writer will be there on hand with your senses turned up to maximum gain and sensitivity to capture it all. Fantastic, absolutely fantastic.
Without people saying anything you will be able to tell if one family thinks they their offspring has ‘married below their station’ or what the brides mother really thinks of the groom and so on. It will be shouting out to you as loud as an stage microphone on full power just by how people act, react and behave around others.
Conflict abound, weddings provide all the material a writer will need about dialogue, characterisation, plot, setting, emotion and body language all wrapped up in a nice little 8 hour bundle (and that includes the “do” afterwards).
There is so much I could ramble on for pages and pages from the bridesmaids dresses being slightly see through because of the material they have chosen, the Best Man fancying the Bridesmaid and disappearing for half an hour at the reception, the sixteen year old having too much alcohol and getting truly wrecked at the reception.
So many more, then there are the twenty and thirty year olds who do drink way too much and the inevitable fight takes place, I am sure we have all been there. And let us not forget the sworn to secrecy parts of the stag or hen night that somehow leak out after the twelfth round of drinks. Chaos.
Now funerals, a completely different affair, yet the potential for raw emotion to take over and all of that buried “family stuff” to come out is there, just below the surface waiting for the right seemingly innocent remark or action to bring the whole place crashing down into a free for all.
For funerals it may well be worse, because there is usually a small time when they need to be organised and although for some the death was “expected” sometime. For others, the young, it my have been a complete surprise and all of that emotion is ticking away like a time bomb.
For either occasion everything is there to make for creative writing so long as the writer is well and truly in their maximum creative sensory mode. Be there, be aware and be ready to soak up all of that angst into your writing. It will make it absolutely zing from the page and make people gasp for more.
I have focused on the potential for anger, argument and conflict, but weddings can also be such places of unlimited perfect love between the happy couple. Watch how they look at each other, the gentle caress of hands, the sparkle in the eye and those special only for each other moments that tell of their love.
The pride of the bride’s father, the emotion on the face of the bride’s mother and all of those wonderful deeply emotive and personal moments are there to be captured. The writer is fully armed with all of the tools for great writing.
So, the next time you hear someone talk about a wedding, prick your ears up and listen to the politics of family, especially the guest list and who is sitting with whom and so on. It will add to the treasure trove of creativity that every writer needs to make their writing as good as it can possibly be.