Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Hobbit House


Today, someone posted this link to a local Hobbit House on my Facebook page.
Isn't it cool?
It was built by a local artist as a sheep shed...which gradually got out of hand!
It took him ten years to build, using stone from the nearby fields...
but when the council eventually found out about it, they told him off!
Which made him give it all up and move to Scotland...
leaving his Hobbit House to crumble into the ivy and nettles. 

I wish I'd been lucky enough to stumble across it while out for a walk...
then I could've made up my own story.
I'd like to go and see if I can find it anyway - I love looking around old buildings.
And derelict buildings...

 Or weird and spooky buildings.
Anything with a sense of history really.
The Hobbit House has tiled floors...


And elaborate plasterwork...

And - of course - hand-painted stained glass widows.

Anyway, the Hobbit House pictures made me think about how easy it is to find inspiring and atmospheric photos on the internet - and how handy they are for us aspiring writers. Ha! We barely need to use our imaginations at all any more.
For my first novel, I wanted to set a scene in a derelict church, so I simply Googled 'derelict church' and then described the photo. It included all sorts of things I probably wouldn't have come up with on my own such as...the weather...the time of year...the lightness of the sky...the flatness of the surrounding countryside...and the way the shadows fell upon the stone. When a friend from my writing group read the scene, she described it as "very visual" and - suddenly - I was reluctant to admit how I'd done it. Because it felt like cheating.      
Trouble is - whether it's honest or not - it works!
Choosing the right pictures is fun and the descriptions are a piece of cake. A couple of scenes in the book I'm writing at the moment are set in wintry woods. How could I not have a quick look? And - having seen what Google came up with - how could I not print out all the beautiful frosty photos and stick them around my laptop as I wrote the scenes.

I'm such a cheater!



  1. It's not cheating, it's research! I do it all the time, I'll often keep pictures and stick them in my notebook to refer back to.

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that hobbit house. Where is it, do you know? You could make a great story there I'm sure x

  2. For some reason I seem to feel as if writing ought to be all HARD LABOUR and any kind of short cuts are CHEATING! Just another of the many forms of writer's guilt, I suppose.
    Google says the Hobbit House is in Chedglow (near Malmesbury) which is less than an hour's drive from us. So I'm going to try to persuade my husband and the boys to go there for a daytrip/picnic. Although I can't help worrying that it might cave in over our heads!

  3. It would be good to see it. I'll keep a mental note in case ever nearby. Do get to Cheltenham area occasionally as we have family near there.