I’m on vacation for two weeks, and . . . well, there was this hotel. It was straight out of a story. It was old, and venerable, and quirky, and certainly was the sort of hotel that’d make a great setting for a story. What happened? Well, let me tell you.
1. During check-in, there was a strange, high-pitched male giggling happening behind a closed door. The man at the front desk ignored it completely, and I didn’t ask. How would this work in fiction? Well, perhaps the heroine hears the giggling, and it represents the hidden secrets in her past – benign secrets, or maybe a serial killer. What does your story need? It’s probably behind the door.
2. After we got to our room, the fire alarm went off. It took us ridiculously long to figure out what was happening, and then to finally react appropriately. What alarm bells are going off for our heroine? Does she answer the call right away, or does she dither? Don’t dither too long! It annoys the reader. (And thank goodness for us, it was a false alarm, and we got some good pics of the cute firetrucks.)
3. No hot water. I took a cold shower the first night. Doesn’t this sound like a metaphor for passion? Water is all about sexual feelings, and in the story, the heroine could be scalded, or frozen out. Her shower head could drip, or become a powerful stream. What’s going on in the story?
4. Noisy coughing in the alley. What’s going on? One night it’s a man, and the next night it’s a woman. Is it a plague? A secret code for one of the guests to decipher? A shapeshifter whose voice changes with his/her body cavities? A ghost?
5. The key wouldn’t unlock the door – this actually happened twice in our travels so far, but of course, you couldn’t have it happen twice in a story. People wouldn’t believe you. Doors that are locked means the heroine must seek help. You know, she’s probably seeing a lot of the front desk guy – the shower doesn’t work, housekeeping forgot the towels and now the key is unkeyed. What kind of guy takes a part-time job as a night watchman at a hotel front desk? A student? A man of mystery on the run? A spy? An alien or other supernatural?
The wonderful thing about travelling is that you feed your muses. The terrible thing is that it’s hard to make time to get anything down on paper. Have you got any hotels in your WIP? What are you doing with them, and are you making them do double-duty?