View Full Version : Looking for inspiration: WWI (everything is welcome!)

June 17th, 2009, 06:03 AM
So... EVERYTHING is welcome, I would like to put a stress on that...

A couple of summers ago, I wrote the beginnings of a story, about a young girl in Word War I. WWI is one of my favourite periods in time, because it is still so alive in Belgium. Plus, my character, Blanche, is born before WWI and lives through the end of the Belle Epoque. My main stimulans to write this story were actually the amazing dresses of that period... _inabox_ The story ends with the end of the war... I wish I could tell you more, but I have become really reluctant to put anything online, because the first chapter of this story was stolen before...

I want/need to continue this story and this summer will be a writing summer. I want to show my parents that, after being a failure (please not, still don't know) at uni, I can still do something... I do am writing for myself, don't get me wrong. The characters, especially Blanche, Victor and Bertille heave been in my head for too long, and I have to 'release' them.

But I want my story to be as correct as possible... I want to be able to send my manuscript without being afraid that the readers will not notice small mistakes. For example, I wanted one of my characters to lose his memory in a gas attack after 1915, but there were no gas attacks after the first year... That is of course a big mistake, so quick research made that pretty obvious. Other details are trickier... The dress, how the voting of a new minister in Belgium went along... This is very detailed information, and hard to find.

What I really want to ask is... Inspiration! If you find anything about WWI, please share it in this thread.
Pictures (please!)
Music (I've got some awesome cds from the Passchendaele Suite, but more is so welcome!)
Websites with dresses or whatever information
Picturs of family members during WWI (I've got several, plus the front pass of my great-grandfather)

June 17th, 2009, 07:08 AM
Laoghaire, I think you need to have a story to tell first, the historical background should come second. You need to be aware of the major events of the period and work out how they would impact upon your character.

WWI was such a traumatic event that you cannot expect her to remain unchanged through it all so you need some idea of what sort of person she’s going to become at the end so that you have something to work towards. To achieve this some writers like to write a biography of at least their central character so as to get to know them before they start writing the actual story.

There’s plenty of information available about WWI, in fact possibly too much. Having in mind an actual story would help narrow down the area of research required, especially the more particular detail as it might effect a young Belgian woman.

I suggest that you read about some of the more human stories and see if there’s anything there that can fire your imagination, write up a rough draft of several chapters to see if it works and then start adding the detail.

I’m currently working on a historical novel myself, totally different time period, and I found that this worked for me – up to 52,000 words now too!

Good luck!


June 17th, 2009, 09:10 AM
Actually, My grandfather was a typist in the army who spent a great a mount of time in France. He's the one who told me the US army made all the hookers shave their legs and underarms because of the body lice they were passing to the soldiers. You can see the far reaching results THAT had. After they started coming home, they began to insist that their wives and sweeties shaved. I guess to remind them of the French whores?

June 18th, 2009, 07:46 AM
TygerTyger, thank you! My first goal is indeed to write my story as I intended it to be. It has been in my head for so long, It almost feels as if I have no choice... There are certain details that make me unsure though. I have the complete plot written down, but in order to make the story fit, I have to be sure some details are absolutely right.
I wish I could share the story with you, but I'm too paranoid... I am writing this story in Dutch too, as it is my mother tongue. Maybe I'll ask one of my friends, who is a translator herself, to translate my story ;).

The real purpose of the thread is the search for more inspiration. I have just gathered all the books about WWI in the house, but I need more visual information. I want to be able to open this thread, or my bookmarked pages, and find a treasure of information and especially pictures. Heck, even paintings from that specific era are welcome...

Watersprite, why doesn't your story surprise me at all *shakes head*? Men ;). I have heard it before though, but it is amazing that you heard it from family. My father knows nothing about the war past of his grand-father, because he simply refused to talk about it. My one grand-father who is still alive was born right after WWI. Thank you so much for sharing! This makes is very real...

I'm still doing my own research, and interesting links will surely be posted here, for the benifit of other writers.

June 20th, 2009, 05:40 AM
As far as fashion goes, what kind of wealth level are we talking for your characters? Are they likely to be wearing the latest Erte, or do they wear farm dresses they sew themselves from a pattern that's been floating around the house for 10 years?

Tinne Agus Gath
December 19th, 2009, 11:35 AM
I have a suggestion. You might want to include the news of the Christmas Truce of 1914 in Ypres...
There is a good book that I'm reading now about it called Silent Night by Stanley Weintraub.
You could look into it if it's important enough.
But the Truce was a big deal during that year when newspapers everywhere got letters from soldiers that were fighting in the trenches sent in.

And if you want to get into the war action, I highly suggest you google trench warfare, and No Man's Land.

These are just suggestions, so you don't have to do them.

I just like sharing as one WWI enthusiast to another...

December 19th, 2009, 11:51 AM
Here is something WW1 related, and incidentally it is also Christmas related too.


This is a film made in 2005 about a true event where both sides stopped fighting for Christmas. It was a true Christmas miracle. :thumbsup:

Of course, the political leaders weren't happy about their men not fighting so after this they took steps to make sure it wouldn't happen again...