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Above is my birthday card from my second-oldest grandson, what do you think this is? The answer will surprise you. Done guessing?
Well, it is a dinosaur that swallowed a rainbow fish. See the multicolored object in the middle? My grandson thought out of the box. Are you thinking out of box? Are you using your creative juices?
As a writer, I guarantee you probably do that. But sometimes our drinking well dries up. How do we replenish our creative side? Downtime helps sometimes.
I recently put my prequel novel on hold. It included some great scenes but the whole concept was not right. Readers need to love your character and if I continued with the way it was going they would not root for him. Thus, I got input from critique groups and entered a contest and received feedback there. These insights will make this project better. But while I sort out on how to fix the problem, a different idea came to fruition.
And, this is co-authoring a book with great friend Ruth Ann Nordin. Our work in progress is titled, Bride by Arrangement, where two women meet on a train to travel to Nebraska in the late 1800s. When I have mentioned this story, people get excited.
The romance will include two novellas - one written by Ruth and the other by me. My novella is called She Came by Train, where Opal leaves her beloved Virginia to become a governess of two children of a local banker who lost his wife. The plot thickens when a minister from Virginia conducts revival services in the area. She came by train but only her heart will determine if she leaves that way.
How do we develop concepts? There is no certain path. Mine is to write a scene and see where it leads. Here is an example:
“Her mind whirled. ‘Mice. You don’t bring those into the house do you?’ she asked in a weak voice.
He shook his head in the negative. ‘No, Papa wants them outside so the cats can have their meals. Miss Preston you looking kind of white.’
Her eyes closed.
‘Miss Preston,’ his shrill voice penetrating her consciousness.
However, everybody has their own method. There are people who are story plotters. One woman Ruth and I ran into at a conference had a huge sheet with a series of notes on it. She needed a king-size bed to display that paper. But if this is the way you create, go for it.
Creators do come in many shapes and sizes and each builds on their own experiences to fashion their stories. For example, in my Lockets and Lanterns the secret the husband hides from his wife comes from my background.
Thus, feed on your past and embellish them to make good reading. Remember those fish tales? They got better as the fish became bigger.
Visiting historical homes or other places gives you ideas. These also make great resource tools to get a real feel for the time period. Even childhood memories assist you. In my prequel, I wrote a scene where a character falls in a lake. I can describe this since as a child my family took me camping and I waded in the river.
In addition, do not forget about past actions and conversations. Family and friends make wonderful fodder. In my story, “Sweaters of Love,” in Seasons of the Soul I used a conversation between myself and my oldest granddaughter who was 4 years old at the time and weaved it into this fiction tale.
“Mary told Jolleen about how the weather changed.‘Grandma,’ Jolleen said.‘God is a big guy. He will do whatever He wants.’”
So remind yourself you can take a break; look for new projects to refresh your writing; plot your story your way; generate ideas from experiences, conversations and actions; and fill that drinking well with writing. What you can produce when you put your mind to it is amazing!
How do you create your stories? Look forward to your comments. God bless.