There was a moment when I knew I would become a writer. I woke up in the morning as usual but my first thought was not, where’s the coffee; it was, “Virginia was standing at the window all dressed in black.” I knew there was a story there.
I started to write. I began to research. You see, Virginia was wearing a dress from the Civil War Era. I still am not sure why that era picked me or why my subconscious mind gravitated in that direction. Whatever the reason, my novel remains set in the period just prior to the Civil War.
It, the story, has morphed at least a dozen times. Usually as characters explain to me who they are and what they’re thinking. In this case, I had a minor character named Mamie. Not a side-kick character. Actually she is Virginia’s sister by another mother.
As time went on, Mamie’s became the dominant voice. She grew increasingly louder. Somewhat like a child trying to get its mother’s attention. I listened. Instead of forcing my story on her, I let her tell me her story. What a story she had to tell. Virginia, somewhere along the way choose to die. I know, sad. I will always be grateful to her for starting me on the path. Who knows, she may incarnate into another character in another story.
I often wondered as a reader how writers come up with story ideas. I know some are planners, some just start writing. For me, it’s a line or a picture that pops into my head unexpectedly. Mamie’s story is nearly at an end. I should complete it this next month. I have been editing and rewriting. I am hoping to publish by early next year.
Next time you hear a voice speak to you out of the blue, don’t ignore it. It might be a story.