I just returned from Iceland, the land of ice and fire, back to snow covered New Hampshire. I’d gone north to get warm.

Actually, though they are warmer than we are throughout winter, the week I was there the temperature in Reykjavik was about the same as Pike, New Hampshire; in the thirties. But, wait for it, their crocuses were in bloom. And that’s saying something. We have another month to go before we see any spring flowers.

There’s no denying that I love Iceland. Just as I love Jasper Fforde and cats and chocolate. Maybe not in that order, but you catch my drift.

An idea for a story came to me while I was standing in the snowfields north of Reykjavik watching the Northern Lights play across the sky. Just before the Lights did their thing we’d watched starlings do their thing as they murmurated above the horizon. That was pretty glorious too. But back to the story.

Supposing a murder had occurred as the whole group from the tour van had their eyes fixed on the sky. Out there, in the dark, an isolated group of aurora borealis afficionadoes oohed and aahed away like five year olds at a fireworks display. Attention fixed on the display above, not one person glanced around at their neighbors. It was almost a locked room scenario. Then, just suppose that the perpetrator was confined to a wheelchair. One of our group was. Suppose he/she was not quite the invalid we all thought.

It’s the supposing that gets a story budding. I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ essays on stories right now. He apparently got his Narnia stories from pictures he saw in his mind. One picture he admitted carrying around for twenty-five years or more before he put it to good use.

I can see a picture right now, but don’t know how it will all turn out. C.S Lewis said the same thing. He played with his pictures, moved them around till they meant something to him. Then he connected the dots, and the story bloomed.

My picture, because it seems so locked room, has sent me back to re-reading Agatha Christie. I finished the ‘Crooked House’ and have started ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. Christie is technically not ‘locked room’ but she dealt with isolated scenarios, limited suspects, and clueless people. I researched her top ten stories and am picking and choosing from them while I begin to get my act together on paper. That’s the hard part. Definitely.

On a different note, a member of our writing group, Mike H., definitely has gotten his act together with his newly published short story. We are extremely proud of him, he makes us look good. You can find his story, ‘Next to the Fridge‘, online at Cold Creek Review.

Way to go, Mike.


About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on March 29, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I remember reading about the mental picture that got the Narnia stories going: a faun walking along in the snow, carrying an umbrella. Just having a head where such pictures pop up is a consummation devoutly to be wished.


  2. Michael Horton

    Publicity! How splendid. Thanks–and I want to go to Iceland too.


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