For my work in progress (WIP) series, I have many muses, most of which are in the form of a TV show, movie, or music. One of the strongest influences on my series has been the television show One Tree Hill. This is my all-time favorite show and has been incredibly inspirational to me for this novel.
For the entire run of the series, One Tree Hill was filmed in a town in North Carolina called Wilmington. I have visited this city probably five times now, and I’m so in love with it. This past weekend, my family and I took a little weekend getaway to our favorite city.
This trip was really the first time I went with my WIP on my mind. My previous trips there hadn’t been during a time when I was actively writing. This time it was and I wanted to really tap into my muse to help me become inspired.
Many of the scenes on the show were filmed right in the location as opposed to studio space (although that was used as well). What’s really wonderful is that even though the show ended seven years ago, you can still visit these places. Some of them are a bit different, but you can still see the building or the space and remember pivotal moments that happened there.
I was so excited to visit some of these places again. I love going back there and filling myself with inspiring thoughts for this novel.
The Rivercourt is an iconic spot on One Tree Hill. From the first episode when Lucas and Nathan played one-on-one to the last episode when Nathan and Jamie shared an adorable father-son moment. Interesting (albeit sad) fact is that the Rivercourt itself is no longer there. It was destroyed as it was solely built for the show. But many fans still visit to simply be in the spot.
What is most beautiful to me is the backdrop the Rivercourt. You can see the city of Wilmington across Cape Fear. This was the spot you always saw when a Rivercourt scene appeared. It looks almost identical to this day.
For a coming-of-age story, there’s always that one setting (actually, it doesn’t necessarily have to be just one) that’s iconic for the characters. It’s a spot where important moments happens. It’s where they look back and say, “That’s where I grew up.” Maybe that sounds cliché, but you can’t tell me you didn’t feel a little something inside of you hearing those words.
In my novel, the main character lives in a cul-de-sac with her three best friends. Next to the cul-de-sac is a park where they basically grew up. Within the woods of this park is their special, secret spot. Full disclosure: it’s nothing like a basketball court. But the same feelings are there.
This spot is like home base for the characters. When they’re upset, that’s where they go. That’s where they find clarity. High school is a tough time. You need a place to go to find peace in the drama of it all.
Peyton Sawyer’s House
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Peyton throughout the series. She’s not my favorite character but there are definitely moments I’m totally in love with her. I connect so much with her creative spirit. She’s an artist and a music lover. Her bedroom is her oasis. It’s where she draws. And not just on paper, she creates murals in her bedroom. It’s where she listens to music. She literally has walls filled with records.
In visiting Peyton’s house, it was a bit of a cross between finding inspiration for my novel and finding inspiration for myself. All of the main characters on the show have their own special creative activities. But Peyton’s sense of creativity is so incredibly strong and bold.
Inspiration For My Main Character
For a girl in high school, your bedroom is your space. When you’re not with friends or at school or other activities, this is where you spend your time. At least, that’s how it is for my main character (Autumn).
Peyton Sawyer had the quintessential teenage bedroom… but with some edge. That’s what I love about her. She’s the only main female character whose room plays a pivotal role in the series. They did a great job of making it be truly her and who she is. Visiting her house was a reminder to me to create a space for Autumn that was true to who she is.
Peyton was unapologetically who she was. She was punk. She was a cheerleader. She loved music. She was an artist. Did she always embrace these things and show them to the world? No. But she eventually did. She didn’t conform to what others wanted her to be.
As a writer, I’ve hidden for so long. I’m still kind of hiding now. But I want to put myself out there as an author. Peyton is inspiring me to do that in the way she did.
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Tree Hill High School
How could I write a high school series without finding inspiration from THHS? Truth be told, this visit was the first time I’ve actually been able to find this spot where the show filmed. It’s a bit tucked away. And it’s going through some pretty major changes for us fans. The iconic scene of the Whitey Durham Field House will look quite different. But let’s not get off track here.
Most of the high school scenes are shot in a studio. Being able to get at least a glimpse at what I could was essential to me. The high school in my novel is something I’m having a really hard time placing in my mind. By no means am I basing it off the school in the show. But seeing the space I could has helped me draw some ideas of what I want to do.
My working title for my novel is “High School Girl.” It’s her identity pretty much. Autumn is a girl navigating her way through high school and all the intricacies that come along with this life stepping stone. I want to describe the place in a way that does it justice.
There are so many important moments I have planned that happen within the school. I want my readers to feel invested in this place and feel like they’re really there. I’ll do as much research and work possible to make that happen.
Diving Back Into The One Tree Hill Series
Since restarting the work on my novel and beginning my author business, I haven’t been watching the show. Until recently, I decided to put it on to relax at the end of the night. After traveling to Wilmington and getting back into the show, I’m feeling more alive with inspiration for my novel.
As writers, we know inspiration is not always easy to come by. I’ve been feeling a bit blocked after Camp NaNoWriMo in April. But now I feel much more eager about getting back into writing and really working on creating book one of this series and making it great.
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