Middle Grade Mondays
Ignoring the Spark
By Natalie Bright
How does a spark of a story begin for you? Does it start with a place, an overheard conversation, or a strong plot idea?
Probably the most asked questions to all authors, is where do ideas come from? And the answer is everywhere, anytime, and at the most inconvenient places. For me, it’s usually begins with a larger than life character.
Consider the Story
I’ve been researching the Texas Fort period of 1860’s for several years. The years 1860 has been identified as the “bloodiest year in Texas history.” The western frontier of Texas was a clashing of cultures with the fiercely independent Texans, cattle ranchers, Mexican traders and sheepherders, railroaders, plantation owners and the fiercely proud Comanche.
The two main characters are clear in my mind, their mission and obstacles are in there somewhere, and I even know the ending. Time to lay down the first draft during November for NANO, however there are still so many historical details unanswered. I decided to forge ahead and save fact checking for later.
And then the most horrible thing ever happened. A new character popped into my brain. A young lady from colonial times sashayed through my head and now, refuses to shut up. To appease her, I went to Amazon and ordered a few books on the time period. Scenes from her story started interrupting the flow during the time I was writing the above mentioned story. Fine. I stopped writing about forts and started a notebook for plot ideas and research notes.
My family thinks I’m a total basket case, so I’ve learned to not say much about what’s going on in my head. It’s an absolute mess in there. So now what? Do you power through the work in progress and ignore the new spark? I’m afraid if I do, the colonial girl will be lost from me forever. And consequently, the fort story seems to have faded as well.
In the words of a Native American saying: Certain things catch your eye, But pursue only those that capture your heart.
Page 1, Chapter 1…