By Ann H. Gabhart
A writer needs time to gather a story. Time to let the glimmers spark out of that mysterious dark center where stories can be born. But sometimes even when the glimmers sparkle they can still be as elusive as fireflies rising out of the grass at dusk. Here one second, there the next. Story ideas can slip away in much the same way. You want to come up with something fantastic, something new and exciting for your story, something readers will love, and so you hope for the ideas that spark more ideas. One thing for sure, a writer can rarely just sit back and wait for the glimmers to settle in her head to light the way to a story.
Whenever I’m at the glimmer stage with a new story, I know I better grab my story catching net and go hunting for ideas to get that story going. With my work in progress, the glimmers were there, but they weren’t very bright when I sat down to begin Chapter One. I saw a woman in my fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill. She never planned to live a Shaker life, but circumstances give her few options of leaving the village. I have a man with a willful young daughter who has a way of getting into trouble. I still have many story questions to answer, many twists and turns to navigate.
A writer needs more than time to imagine. She needs discipline and concentrated effort to write a novel while other things clamor to get done. I have an editing deadline on my summer release, River to Redemption. I have blog posts to publicize that book. I need to update my website and keep my social media sites up to date. I need to do this blog entry. All these things are writing related. If I’m doing them, I’m surely working. Surely writing.
But the truth is I’m not. Those things are important and need doing. The same as the clothes must be washed and meals cooked. I want to make time for the grandkids to visit. My dog needs to be walked. I must do all those things and more, but I want to be writing. I want to chase down that story. And yet even when I’m sure I want to write, even when the story glimmers beckon, I sometimes hesitate to put my fingers on the keyboard to begin.
It can be a fearsome thing to step out onto a story path and start writing with a final scene thousands of words away. Will the story work? Will my story glimmers glow brightly enough? I’ve done it many times. I’m confident the words will come if I stick to the task and let my characters come to life. So here I go, heading down the story trail again with hope that ideas will glimmer on every side like fireflies at dusk to light my way.
ANN H. GABHART, the bestselling author of over thirty novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. In addition to her popular Harmony Hill Shaker novels, Ann writes about family life in novels like Angel Sister and Love Come Home as well as cozy mysteries (as A.H. Gabhart) set in small towns like the Kentucky town where she grew up. These Healing Hills is her first novel with an Appalachian Mountain setting. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and enjoy country life in Kentucky. Find out more about Ann and her books at her website, www.annhgabhart.com.
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