books · characters · stories · writing

Pondering A Story

Thirty minutes before I herd the children off to bed, and I just realized I haven’t written a blog post. So, it’s off the cuff tonight. I can’t promise I’ll stay on topic. In fact, here at the beginning, there is no clear topic. I’ll come up with one before its over, though, so stick with me.
Randy Ingermanson is the author of the snowflake method. He is a fiction writer, as well. You can find him at I was playing online when I came across his website, and his take on how to begin a novel intrigued me. “Hmm,” I thought, “maybe when I’m ready to write the next book, I’ll try his method out.” Before we go any further, let me make sure you understand, I write when the mood strikes me. If characters and scenes don’t come to me, I don’t force them. This works if writing is a hobby. I want to do better and possibly make writing a career. So, I need to figure out how to write a book that doesn’t take four to five years. His method might be something for me. Time will tell.
The first suggestion he gives is to come up with a summary sentence. I’ve been playing around with a few ideas and characters, and here’s my first try.
Hardhearted widow purchases indentured servant newly arrived to the American colonies.
What do you think? Grab your attention?
The next step is to write a paragraph with more information about that sentence, but I’m not there, yet. The actual snowflake method on the website is meant for those who can see, but I like his suggestions. If nothing else, it gives my mind time to play while ideas for my current WIP come to fruition. Also helps while the temps fall and the wind picks up outside. Very glad my part of WV is on the outer edges of the snowstorm further East.
Speaking of colonial America, I just finished reading “Caleb’s Crossing” by Geraldine Brooks. Could not put it down. Excellent writing. The book did not end as I thought it would, but it made me cry just the same. It mentioned some rather interesting customs that I plan to research. Confessing sin in front of the entire congregation was one of them. Yikes!
Yesterday and today were spent homeschooling and searching the internet. From strange marriage laws to prison hulks, indentured servants to convicts sent to American colonies, ideas began to form. I realized that on paper history is one thing; in reality the lives of folks were probably quite different. I read of men stealing handkerchiefs and being sent to Maryland from England for a seven year sentence, but what would make a person want a handkerchief that bad? What about those who were framed for a crime they didn’t commit? People aren’t usually what they seem, and this pondering is what makes good stories.
What if our hardhearted widow is named Mercy? Hardhearted widow, Mercy Wakefield trusts no one, especially men. Now, what if our indentured servant is a convict sentenced to seven years in the colonies. Hang on, y’all, I think I just came up with a story question.
How could a convict teach her about grace?
These thoughts are scattered, and it is growing late. Time for a recharge. 🙂 But, since this is turning into a series, here is the link to part 2 on this theme.

Be blessed and keep warm.

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