This month, A Slice of Orange is proud to announce that Dianna Sinovic will be blogging regularly for us. Her column Quill and Moss is scheduled on the 30th of May, July, August, October, December, January and March. Please take a minute to welcome her.
One late afternoon after work this past week, I walked down the drive to decompress and unkink, and noticed the winged maple seeds scattered across the asphalt and sprinkled on the lawn.
Silver maple whirligigs, falling by the hundreds—thousands—each a seed that will get eaten (by the squirrels), squashed (by my car), or swept up and tossed in the trash (not the compost!). A few may find themselves on soil rich enough to sustain roots and decide to sprout.
I likened the whirling seeds to the many ideas writers sift through for their next writing project, whether a blog post or a short story or a chapter in a longer work. You might reject one after another idea—too silly, too serious, too [fill in the blank]—until you hit on the one that inspires you. Or that idea may need to lie dormant for a while, until the time is right to nurture it into a sapling.
Case in point: For several years, I sat on the first two paragraphs of a story idea. In my mind’s eye, I saw a middle-aged woman, an aging “hippie,” lighting a candle and trying to connect with the spirit of her dead husband. His name was Tommy. Her name was Weejah, pronounced like the Ouija board. That’s all I had for a long while. I would revisit it periodically, hoping the time was right, but I still stared at same two paragraphs.
Then, just like that whirligig, the seed of the idea finally began to sprout. On the next revisit, as I saw Weejah sitting in front of the candle, I knew then that she was asking Tommy about a new man in her life, one whom she was considering marrying. The conflict would be with her grown children, who were against the marriage. But then, like a seedling, the story stayed small and incomplete for a while longer.
At last I knew I was ready to write it as a paranormal story. It would be presented in scenes that were tied to a séance: Each time Weejah tried to reach Tommy, whether by herself, with her son and daughter, or with her fiancé, something would happen to make her believe he really was there—communicating across the Great Divide.
After several rewrites, it became Tommy, which made it into the Bethlehem Writers Group’s latest anthology, Untethered.
What seeds of ideas have you returned to again and again, waiting for them to finally put down roots?
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