writers / writing

#IWSG February–An Inspiring Photo

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group. Click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s question — Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

It has–what a great question! Way back 30 years ago, I went to one of the San Diego, California museums and happened to walk through a diorama of ancient man. One particular picture caught my attention:

early man

This is Lucy, the 3.2 million year-old Australopithecene who caught everyone’s attention in the 1970’s when her skeletal remains were discovered by Donald Johanson. At first glance, I saw only a primitive female more ape than man, but then I found the eyes. In them, I saw empathy, humanity, caring, fear, excitement–exactly what you and I feel.

When I tried to read an explanation of how earliest man survived despite untenable obstacles, the texts quickly devolved into academic discussions. I wanted her passion for life, what drove her to fight for survival when she should have died. So I wrote that book and called it Born in a Treacherous Time. In it, I would bring Lucy’s world to life in a way never seen before.

That started the multi-trilogy Man vs. Nature saga:

Based on a true story, this is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion. We follow early humans as they struggle to survive a world where Nature is King and man is prey. What didn’t kill them made them stronger. 

The first trilogy is Dawn of Humanity (only Born in a Treacherous Time is published so far–more coming soon) and grew into the Crossroads trilogy (Book 1 is Survival of the Fittest) about man’s life 850,000 years ago. I’m planning a third trilogy–a sequel to Crossroads–and a fourth that will spotlight Cro Magnon man.

I’m still inspired.

More on #IWSG

What’s being a writer feel like?

Strange Googlable Topics

A Great Place to Write

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Fall 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

69 thoughts on “#IWSG February–An Inspiring Photo

  1. Pingback: #IWSG March–Celebrations in My Writing | WordDreams...

  2. I love learning about writers. Your story is fascinating. What a wealth of writing and storytelling inspired by that one picture of Lucy. Did you think 30 years later you’d still be inspired by her? Glad you shared the picture. I see her too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your story, Jacqui, never knew this exhibit was your inspiration. Look where the connection you made with Lucy has taken you. I think you should include this in your Author’s Introduction to your books as it’s emotionally compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Jacqui, what an incredible reaction from you to this image. I agree, the eyes are haunting and tell so many stories, and I love how you had to capture those them! It’s interesting to learn what inspires an author to pen a certain book and yours is a fascinating one!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The face that launched a thousand stories! I love how Lucy inspired you to bring passion and life to the academic study of man’s early existence and spawned not one, but two series.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That single photo clearly had a profound effect on you. I love when something spurs imagination to that degree. I had that happen with an article I read which later spurred me to write a three book series on the historic collapse of the Silver Bridge and the legend of the Mothman. I can so relate to the passion you discover in that photo, as I did in a single article!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I always enjoy hearing the inspiration for stories. They might be huge or tiny, but there is always something that makes the writer ask the question that becomes a novel. Thanks for sharing, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jacqui – is that how the idea came about … what a great link back to ‘Lucy’ and her life all those years ago. You really gave yourself ‘some work’ – but how fascinating it’s been … all the research looking at life and its development in those very early years. Thanks for letting us know – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! This one picture spawned so many stories for you. I can see what you mean by the eyes. Visiting the Prada Museum in Madrid and seeing Velazquez’s Las Meninas inspired my Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting book.

    Liked by 2 people

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